Managing Your ADHD in the Pandemic

Managing Your ADHD in the Pandemic

Based on the emails we’ve received, lots of our listeners are struggling with their ADHD right now. Dr. H addresses several questions in this episode including getting diagnosed while in quarantine, educational accommodations, impulsive versus compulsive, and the upside of being forced to slow down. And on a lighter note, Ned learns he’s not alone in his ADHD cooking misadventures!

Do you have a question or comment for Dr. Hallowell? Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Episode image by Daniel Xavier from Pexels.

Listen to this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. And I want to thank all of you who’ve been reaching out to us with your comments and questions. We love them. We love them. We love them. We really, really do. So today we are going to prove it by devoting the entire episode to responding to your emails and questions that we’ve received over the past few weeks.

My producer, the incredibly talented Sarah Guertin joins me now, virtually of course, and she will read to me your emails so I can respond. I have not seen these before. So what I will be offering is an off the top of my head off, the cuff, shoot from the hip immediate response, which I hope will have some sense to it. So Sarah, welcome and would you like to read me the first email?

Sarah Guertin:

Certainly. Thank you. It sounds like you might’ve just gotten another one too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, yeah.

Sarah Guertin:

Okay. This first email is from a listener named Maria. She wrote, “My eight-year-old son has been recently diagnosed with ADHD. His struggles were the same as me when I was growing up. As a 35-year-old woman and now professional accountant, I can see ADHD traits encroaching my everyday work life. Examples of this are having difficulty focusing on reading a long technical document and regularly interrupting coworkers. I’m fun to be around, but as I continue to move into more lucrative positions, I’m afraid my ADHD like symptoms will hinder my ability to learn more complex technical issues and to be taken seriously. With COVID-19 rampant, would an online ADHD specialist be able to give a proper diagnosis that can be used to start behavioral therapy and possibly if needed be prescribed medication? Thank you for your help. I love your podcasts. Stay safe.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

The answer is yes, an emphatic yes. And that’s something I’ve been learning during this pandemic. Pretty much every day I do just what you asked. I’ll make a diagnosis over Zoom on a new patient. Someone that I’ve never met in-person. The same principles apply. You take a history and you reach a diagnosis. So yes indeed and I would urge you to do that because if you do have ADHD and it sounds like you do, getting treatment for it can make an enormous difference.

And the treatment is not just medication. It begins with education and learning about it, what it is, what it isn’t, learning how it plays out in your life, in your relationships, and a number of different ways of dealing with it, which may or may not include stimulant medication. But the answer to your question, yes indeed. You can call my office in Sudbury or my office in New York, set up a Zoom session and I will get on the line and tell you whether you have this mysteriously fascinating condition or not and then take it from there.

If you want to know how to reach my office, just go to my website drhallowell.com.

Sarah Guertin:

Okay. Next up is an email from Jessica. She has actually reached out to us in the past, but this time she writes, “I love listening to your podcast and I truly appreciate all the different advice and suggestions you give all of us. You previously recommended me to find a job that best fits my personality and a place that I am happy. After juggling my finances and balancing my life, I took an opportunity and relocated from Southern California to Northern California and became a teacher.”

Sarah Guertin:

“I work with students that are in grade six to nine, with moderate to severe special education. I can honestly tell you that. I love my job. I am passionate about working with them. I learned something new every day. They love me and accept me with all of my disabilities. My struggle is standardized tests. I need to successfully complete my CBEST and CSET.”

Sarah Guertin:

And I looked those up. Those are California educator exams, but she says “I have failed the test and I have always struggled with all standardized tests. When I was in high school I almost didn’t graduate because of the same reason. I am constantly studying, but nothing seems to help me. What advice can you recommend?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, if you have ADHD, which could very well be if you’re having trouble on standardized tests, medication could make all the difference in the world. So I would suggest you go get an evaluation. And again, as I just said, you can do that online during the pandemic and find out if you fit the profile.

Then if you do, you’re entitled both to extra time on the test, on the standardized test as well as if medication is helpful, medication to help you pass it. I had a patient this year, a wonderful doctor who had taken the board exam, which is sort of the equivalent of what you’re trying to pass four times and failed every time. And when we diagnosed her ADD and got her on medication and got her extra time on the test. This time, the fifth try, she passed with flying colors. And that’s not an uncommon story.

So we ADDers often have tremendous trouble with standardized tests, but the combination of extra time and perhaps medication could really make a huge difference for you. So I would get an evaluation and see if this would do the trick for you. Because this is a good chance that it would. Just go to drhallowell.com and we can set something up.

Sarah Guertin:

Okay. This email is from Chuck in Georgia. He wrote, “the instant pot story has me laughing and feeling better about my ADD cooking. I’m 55 now, and I’ve become a good cook and baker over the years, despite some failures.” So obviously he’s referring to that episode you released about your instant pot story.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Sarah Guertin:

But he says, “In college, I was making Kraft macaroni and cheese. I boiled the water and put the pasta in the water to boil the pasta according to the recipe. After boiling the noodles for the time stated on the package, I opened the cheese packet, added the cheese and stirred. I waited a few minutes and the macaroni just wasn’t coming together like it was supposed to do.”

“What I hadn’t done was pour the water and pasta into a colander before returning the cooked pasta into the pot, and then adding the cheese. I had poured the cheese into the boiling water and was waiting for the cheese and pasta to, I don’t know, cook down.”

He says, “If you enjoy this story, feel free to ask about my chicken curry and the wok or my bean burgers. Thanks for your ADD tips, advice and encouragement. They helped me. Thanks even more for Landmark College. My step son is a student there and really developing academically and as a man.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh, that’s wonderful. I could see, in fact, I have made Kraft macaroni and cheese, and I almost did just what you did. I almost forgot that you got to drain the pasta before you put it in the cheese. So I could totally identify this. You’d pour in the cheese and then you’re watching it, hoping that it’ll turn into something that looks like macaroni and cheese, but all you’re getting is macaroni and cheese soup. That’s very, very funny.

I just did a little video I was talking about the downside of ADD, and I told the story on myself where I always have grapefruit juice and coffee for breakfast. And I take milk in my coffee. So I had the coffee cup there and I had the glass for the grapefruit juice and I had the grapefruit juice container and the half gallon of milk.

What did I do? I poured the grapefruit juice into the coffee and it’s just why would I do that? Well, I just wasn’t thinking as they say. But then I said the solution is structured. So from now on, I’m going to have the coffee cup and the glass for the grapefruit juice far enough apart, so that I’d actually have to think before I realized what I was pouring.

And now that won’t be foolproof, but it’ll be a step in the right direction other than my point was, don’t try to change yourself, change your system. It’s a lot easier to change your system than it is to change yourself. But thank you for your lovely story. I can just see the Kraft macaroni and cheese and turning into soup. Okay and thank you for your kind words about Landmark. What a great place that is. So do we have another one coming, Sarah?

Sarah Guertin:

We sure do. This next one is a little bit longer and I had to shorten it a little bit, but it’s from a woman named Rosemary. She wrote, “I grew up with a mother who was a hoarder and subsequently with the public attention to the problem of hoarding over the last 10 or more years, I came to understand that my grandfather was also a hoarder.”

“My sister and I grew up in conditions where the houses we lived in were always full of garbage, cockroaches, cat, feces, and mice when we lived in places where cats weren’t allowed.” Yeah, she says, “We moved to frequently due to evictions. Hoarding is treated as symptomatic of an anxiety disorder. I suffered from generalized anxiety disorder for several years following my husband’s death and cognitive behavioral therapy helped me a great deal.”

“More recently over the last two or so years, I’ve basically diagnosed myself as falling under the umbrella of what’s called ADHD. I haven’t been formally diagnosed. I am hyper-focused when it relates to my research or other things I find interesting, but I get years behind on taxes and paperwork is a nightmare for me.”

“I’ve always been very impulsive and extroverted, although I think I’m mellowing with age, currently I’m 49. In some, has anyone thought about a connection between hoarding and ADHD? I know that people with ADHD could also have other co-morbid problems. Maybe in my family, ADHD and anxiety have combined in certain ways that led to hoarding or problems that on the surface look a lot like hoarding, any thoughts?”

And then she followed it up with just another quick question. She’s also wondering about the difference between impulsivity and compulsivity saying she doesn’t quite understand the difference because when she gets an impulse, she often feels compelled to act on it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hmm, that’s interesting. Let’s start with the last question. Impulsive is simply acting without thinking. So you see an apple on the teacher’s desk and you snatch it without a plan, as opposed to someone who has a conduct disorder, they plan to take the apple when the teacher isn’t looking. So it’s a question of volition and that’s contrasting impulsive behavior versus a conduct disorder, low conscience, that kind of thing.

Now compulsive, compulsive is sort of akin to an addiction and you are compelled. You feel compelled to not step on the crack or avoid the number 13,, or not open an umbrella inside as in obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD, the compulsions or these irrational feelings that you have to do something. They’re not impulsive. They’re not spontaneous out of nowhere. They just rise up and they’re usually irrational, superstitious like stepping on cracks or not stepping on cracks.

So you’re quite right. You, you do feel compelled and it’s against reason. You’ve you feel compelled not to step on a crack, even though “that stepping on a crack is no problem.” People step on cracks all the time, but in your mind, your imagination plays a trick on you. And you conclude that it’s extremely dangerous to step on a crack. And so you’re compelled not to.

Impulsive, you suddenly do something without thinking. Compulsive, you are forced to do something out of irrational needs. Now you can also not have it be OCD-like. You can have compulsions like compulsive gambling, which is close to an addiction, sort of cousin to an addiction. Compulsive gambling, compulsive drinking compulsive use of the internet, compulsive shopping.

If you’re on your way to developing what could be called an addiction. So a compulsion in that sense is like a bad habit. It’s hard for you to stop gambling. You’d like to, but it’s hard for you to stop, or it’s hard for you to stop drinking. You’d like to, you’re a compulsive drinker. Or you’re a compulsive user of the internet, which applies to an awful lot of people these days.

You would like to do it less, but you can’t seem to willpower your way to doing it less. And so you are compulsive in that sense. So there are different meanings of compulsive. Now, as for your possible ADD, yes, ADD and hoarding are often found together. And the good news is if you get your ADD treated, you might find it a lot easier to get past the generalized anxiety disorder.

And while the CBT, the cognitive behavioral therapy helped you after the death of your husband, which is very sad, by the way, it sounds like he was pretty young if you were only 49. I’m sorry to hear that. That must’ve been pretty tough for you. But if you are the cousin to hoarding, generalized anxiety disorder, sometimes it goes away when you treat the ADD. Because one of the reasons for anxiety is feeling out of control and people with add often feel out of control.

They don’t know how they’re going to screw up next. They’re waiting for the next mistake to be made or the next reprimand to come their way. And so it creates a very anxious state to live in. And oftentimes when you get the ADD treated, you feel more in control, which immediately reduces your anxiety. Same thing, by the way, a lot of people are diagnosed with depression don’t really have depression. They’re just bummed out because they’re not doing as well as they know they could do.

And when they get their ADD treated, their performance improves markedly. And so what had looked like depression goes away because it wasn’t really depression. It was simply a feeling of bummed out because I’m not where I ought to be. You do that for a while and it can look for all the world like you’re depressed, but you’re not really.

Because once you get your ADD treated and your performance improves both the anxiety and the depression go away. This leads to one of the common mistakes that gets made is that someone goes to see a doctor who’s not familiar with ADHD and gets diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and gets put on a SSRI like Prozac or Zoloft. And that is not what they need.

It’ll help them a little bit, but what they really need as far as medication goes is a stimulant medication, which will help them focus, which will reduce their anxiety and reduce what had looked like depression. But wasn’t really depression.

Again, it comes back to how important it is to get the full and complete diagnosis and not treat symptomatically the anxiety and the perhaps depression.

So yes, go get yourself diagnosed and I hope the explanation of compulsive versus impulsive made sense to you as well. Thank you so much, Rosemary. Please keep writing to us. Do we have another one, Sarah?

Sarah Guertin:

We do. This one comes from a listener named Cynthia. She wrote, “My nine-year-old son and I are both ADHD experiencers. I have found your podcast to be excellent and wanted to respond about vitamin connection during quarantine. My hope is that society will appreciate the value of real flesh and blood interactions after this time. I am a musician and piano teacher and I’m hopeful people will appreciate music and making it with others more after this.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh, I think there’s no way in the world that we won’t. I think we’re all missing human contact. I think we’re all missing what you get face-to-face that you can’t get. I’m doing my whole practice now via Zoom and thank God for it because I couldn’t do it at all were it not for that. But it’s not the same thing as being in-person with someone.

The depth of contact as one of my colleagues said to me the other day, the depth of contact is so much greater in-person than it can be virtually. Still, the virtual connection is good enough to get the work done, but it isn’t the same. And I think you’re right, this a shelter at home and quarantine is teaching us the value of what I call the human moment, as opposed to the electronic moment.

The human moment is just so much richer and fuller. The electronic moment will suffice, but it’s not as full and rich as the human moment. We have another one, Sarah?

Sarah Guertin:

We sure do. Got a couple more for ya. This is from Lauren, who also happens to be an ADHD coach. She wrote, “Hi there. I just listened to your short podcast about how not being around people is tiring.” What we were just talking about. “My ADHD 16-year-old son was telling me this last week. He doesn’t have many close friends in high school so I trying to understand what he was missing.”

“He said, it’s just being around people, seeing them and interacting at any level. He has been more tired, yet not able to sleep very well. It is interesting and makes sense. The funny part is he also says his morale is better at home without the social stresses of fitting in, in school and whatnot. Such funny contradictions, yet they make sense at the same time. Thanks for your insight and encouragement of your podcasts.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, thank you. Thank you, Lauren. Yeah, it’s tiring. Not being around people is tiring. My wife said to me the other day, “Why am I so tired?” And it’s because we’re not getting vitamin connect. We’re not getting the human connection. She has me and I have her, but it’s just the two of us in the house. We connect. She’s a therapist also, we connect with our patients or clients over Zoom or telephone, but it is tiring.

I think it is because we don’t appreciate how important vitamin connect is. We don’t appreciate how important those human moments are. And it’s also interesting you said your son’s morale is better at home because the social stresses at school can also be a bummer. So you give with one hand and take away with the other. But when we come out of this, when we can get back to whatever we get back to I think one of the things that we’ll be celebrating and rejoicing, what a great thing it will be to be together.

I mean, an important part of my life and my wife’s life is the church. We attend Episcopal church in Cambridge, Massachusetts called Christ Church. We’ve been going there ever since we got married 32 years ago and it’s a big deal. I love going. People often talk about going to church is a burden.

No, for me, it’s a real replenishment. I loved the music. I loved the liturgy. I loved the stories from the Bible. I love the sermons and I love most of all the community. We don’t have that anymore. We have a virtual church, but I can’t on Sunday morning, go sit in that beautiful space and hear that beautiful music sung by living heart beating humans.

And my wife and I, we both really miss it, even though the church is continuing in its own way. We miss that community. And I’m also a big sports fan, season ticket holder to the Patriots. And we just lost our great Tom Brady, but I don’t know what it’ll be like if we have to play games with no one in the stadium.

When it’s taken away, you really notice how much you appreciate something when you can’t have it. And I think the human connection with other people in a crowd, be it a congregation or a football game or a shopping mall for that matter, all of those were essential parts of my life. I’m a pretty simple guy. Those are my pleasures and I can’t do them. You just go down that list.

Can’t go to a football game, can’t go to church. Can’t go to a movie. Can’t go to a restaurant. Can’t go to a shopping mall. It’s like, “golly” and nothing against my wife and she has nothing against me, but it’s pretty thin gruel, when that’s all you’ve got. And she would say, “What do you mean I’m thin gruel?”

Well, I’m thin gruel put it like that. We need more, we need more sustenance. Then we can get just hanging out, the two of us. It’s hard. We go for walks, we do and we wave at other people walking, but can’t get too close and it’s not easy. And your point is a very good one. When we can get back to it, it’ll be pretty wonderful.

In the meantime, we’re making the best of it and I hope this podcast is providing you with some form of connection. That’s certainly our aim in doing it is to connect with you all because you are our reason for doing it. So Sarah, you have another, I think.

Sarah Guertin:

Yes, I have one more. We love all of the emails, but this one I thought was especially touching. So it says, “Hi, I’ve been listening to your recent podcasts in the current COVID world and how it has impacted our lives. I wanted to share my personal experience. I have a 21-year-old son who has been diagnosed with ADHD, depression, anxiety, social phobias, addiction, lying, et cetera.”

“You could use them as an example, in every chapter of a textbook on ADHD. We have been deep in the trenches for many years. A year ago, he returned home from an unsuccessful college experience and his mental health was very fragile. We doubled down on the therapy and other resources, but I didn’t see much improvement.”

“Then COVID-19 became our new normal, the world stopped. He lost his job and has been home for six weeks now. I’ve been so impressed with how much he has improved. To me, it seems like the world has slowed down to his speed and he can now function productively. He has been great. He keeps a somewhat normal daily routine takes his medication daily, does a little work around the house, has maintained his personal space, does his own laundry and exercises.”

“All of his therapy has moved to virtual sessions, including a weekly group therapy. We have been given the luxury of time to figure out that this is all he can handle right now. We will build on this, but this slow world has been a miracle for him. He was obviously overwhelmed before.”

“I’m a little wary of putting too much weight on his success right now, but it sure is a bright spot for me in a world that really could use some good news. Thanks for all of your words of wisdom. I really enjoy your podcast. Sarah.” Not me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Not you. What a lovely, lovely story. That’s so wonderful that given a chance to slow down, all those problems could sort of leave him, drift away, move into the rear view mirror. He needed chance to slow down, have some structure, have some vitamin connect from you. He’s getting what he needs in terms of structure, love, attention, and a pace that he can handle.

And I think success does breed success. So now he’s learning some adaptive life habits that will continue and will strengthen and become durable and will serve him. It’s a great thing seeing how a change in environment, a change in pace, a change in demands. What a difference that can make. That’s a wonderful, wonderful story.

And those of you who are listening, that’s quite a list of problems. He had ADHD, depression, anxiety, social phobia, addiction, lying. That’s why I don’t like the labels because you bury someone under all those labels and the real health can often get lost because you tend not to identify, diagnose health.

We tend not to list strengths or potential strengths, but those are the very factors that have been able to emerge and carry him now that he’s been allowed to have some pressure off and live at a pace that he can handle.

Thanks so much for your email, Sarah. It’s a wonderful story and a very hopeful story as well. Thank you, all of our listeners and sending questions and comments. Please, please, please keep sending them. If we didn’t get to your question today, we will get to it in the next podcast we do on listener comments and questions.

And if you have a question or comment, please, please send it to us at [email protected]. We really live off of your suggestions, comments, and questions. And as you see today, we do take them seriously and answer them to the best of my ability.

In any case, thank you for listening. Thank you for joining our community. Please tell your friends about us as we really want to grow and reach more and more people.

Distraction is a project of Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the amazingly talented Sarah Guertin and our audio engineer and editor is the also amazingly talented Pat Keogh. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you for listening.

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4 Core Areas for Self-Assessment

4 Core Areas for Self-Assessment

There are four basic pieces that form the foundation for executive functioning. In this episode you’ll learn what they are and how to look at these areas to assess how you can help yourself.

If you’ve explored coaching before and it didn’t work, or just have trouble making things stick, Rebecca Shafir, an ADHD coach at the Hallowell Center, offers concrete ideas in this episode on how to make lasting improvements in your life.

Email Rebecca Shafir at [email protected].

Or contact Rebecca at the Hallowell Center by calling 978-287-0810.

Rebecca’s book: The Zen of Listening

Check out Focusmate.com for distraction-free productivity help (mentioned in this episode).

Share your thoughts with us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to connect[email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Click here to listen to this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell. And welcome to Distraction. Today, I have a very special guest. She’s an old friend, and she works in my office in Sudbury. In addition to having her own practice, she’s a multi-talented woman. Not only is she a black belt in karate, but she is the author of a wonderful book, and is a speech language pathologist, and she is a coach extraordinary. She’s developed her own system of coaching, and whether you be a student or adult professional, Becky will absolutely help you, and you’ll have fun in the process. She’s one of the best in the business. So I am very, very happy to have her join us. And let’s just jump right in. Becky, welcome to Distraction.

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, thank you for inviting me Ned, I really appreciate it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, it’s wonderful to have you. You told me you wanted to talk about core coaching, is that correct?

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes. It’s interesting how it all got started, is that I was working with many of your patients with executive functioning and ADHD, and they reported trying many strategies for time management focus and follow through, et cetera. But to no avail, they were really trying to be better and better themselves, and do well in their work and at school. But they were just having trouble making things stick. And they had explored coaching with some very fine coaches, by the way. But again, the strategies and tactics weren’t sticking.

Rebecca Shafir:

So I asked myself, “What’s another way to go with these clients? What do most of these folks have in common?” Number one, I noticed they have poor sleep or wacky sleep patterns. Number two, they were low on exercise. Number three, they were emotionally dysregulated. To some extent they were anxious, procrastinating, depressed, and highly vulnerable to distraction, and their accountability for how they spent their time or activities was rather poor.

Rebecca Shafir:

So I said, “Huh, interesting.” Those core skills and routines form the foundation for executive functioning. So just like a house that’s built on a shaky foundation will topple, for me to ignore those core skills and routines just seemed foolish. So I said, “Becky, how could I make a coaching experience more effective and positive? If I could help them strengthen their core skills and routines, what would come of that?” So identified those core skills and routines, those four basic core pieces. And so I noticed that as I addressed those versus throwing bags of solutions at them, that we started to notice that the patients were becoming more enabled and more successful in implementing the strategies. So that’s my approach.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So, tell us about how it goes. What do you do with them? And by the way, who is the, them? Who is your target client?

Rebecca Shafir:

College bound students, student that are already in college, working adults and entrepreneurs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And then what is the method? Say they call you up and they say, “Becky help me achieve my goals.” Walk us through what it would look like.

Rebecca Shafir:

I like to assess their current level of performance, their medical history. Are they taking medications or not? What are they doing now? What’s working, what’s not, what has been their experience in coaching before, because I want to know what not to bother doing again, or to identify what went wrong in that coaching experience. And then I ask them a very interesting question. I’ll say, “Can you give me a vision of yourself when you won’t be coaching anymore?” And that makes them pause a bit and go, “Boy, I never thought of that.” And I say, “This is important to determining what our target is. How do we know when we’re done?” I mean, this could go on for years.

So they tell me their vision and I often ask them to write it down. And sometimes they have a real hard time doing that, which is what we end up doing some times in our first session, is for getting us at least a general idea of what they’re striving for. So once we have that vision statement, then I want to check on their motivation for following through with coaching. And this is like the moment of truth Ned, because I’ll ask them, “List me your why’s, your W-H-Y-S, your why’s for wanting to meet that vision, to achieve that. And that’s oftentimes for pause, because sometimes their reasons for coming to coaching aren’t their reasons, they’re encouraged by somebody else.

But oftentimes they have a good, strong set of why’s, and it’s things like, “Because I want to be successful, I want to be able to hold a job, and I want to be able to make money and have a good quality of life for myself, and have a sense of self confidence.” I’ll say, “Great, just keep listing those why’s, because those why’s are going to be the drivers when we want to slack off a bit.” Then I’ll say, “How about those why nots? Why not make a change? Why not take advantage of coaching?” And they’ll say, “Well, there’s plenty of those. If I don’t make a change, I’m going to lose my job,” Or “My marriage won’t last,” Or “I’ll be living in my parents’ basement.” I mean, all sorts of horrible things. And I’ll say, “Great. Because we need to have those listed too, combine those with your why’s, then I know you’re motivated, you have some real strong drivers for this process, because changes small as I try to make it is not easy.” Are you with me so far?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah.

Rebecca Shafir:

Okay. From there, we list our areas of improvement. They may say, “Well, I want to manage my time better.” And they’ll make a list. “I want to be able to focus better.” A list of things, and I’ll be, “Okay, you have many objectives here, but we know not to throw bags of solutions at you. That didn’t work before, why don’t we be strategic and brainstorm together to find one small step that we can make?” I like to call it go micro. Let’s find one thing that we can change that could be a catalyst to making all those other objectives easier to attain. And we’ll say, “Okay, let’s figure this out.”

So sometimes that one step is as simple, and you won’t believe it, is as simple as putting out their exercise clothes right by their bed in the morning, or it could be a little bit from a greater step such as, “Well, let’s come up with a calendar system that really works for you.” But I like to start small, because they’ll be looking at me like, “Well, that’s not enough.” I’ll say, “If we start small, then we can bank on making that particular do activity consistent. It’ll be slightly outside of your comfort zone, which is a good thing. But if you can make it consistent, then we can take the next step.” And we build on those challenges.

And what often happens is that we have a trickle down effect, where by making those one or two small changes, well, then they’re a little bit more confident in being able to implement a strategy such as looking at how to manage their time, or their money, or how to get things done.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So once they get past these elementary steps, then how do you take them into greater success?

Rebecca Shafir:

So we meet weekly, sometimes a couple times a week, and we talk about-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And this is over Zoom or in person?

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, yes. It can be Zoom, it can be FaceTime, Skype are my favorite. And in between though, Ned, what I ask them to do is, “Send me a text, send me an email in between our sessions, let me know what you’re struggling with or how things went or any successes, large or small. I can make and prepare ourselves best for our session when we meet.” So I gather those, and we start off going over the progress with that one step, and we work out the kinks in that one step until it’s consistent. And we assess, and we say, “Okay, if we fell off the wagon, no shame, no blame,” I make that very clear from the beginning. “I want you to learn how to solve problems without getting emotional about it. And stepping back 30,000 feet and looking at the landscape of what went wrong there, what happened?”

So this way we’re starting to step back from problems and look at them more strategically. We take on them the next step. If a couple of weeks they’ve been consistent with that one step, we say, “Okay, what’s the next thing that we can do?” Well, maybe if you’re having troubles with sleep, we might try to normalize just with small tweaks that’s sleep regimen. That might be a real good starting point for them. That might be their one thing. And that can start as simple as waking up about the same time every day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So say they’ve done these little steps, what do you do to really have them take off? Tell me a story of a great success that you’ve coached.

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, certainly. No problem. I have a computer engineer, he writes software and he has ADHD, and he was really struggling with getting things done, managing distractions at all. Perfect example. And we started off addressing what he’s done before and what worked, what didn’t, and he was really having troubles on the verge of losing his job. So I said, “Okay, let’s look at your core. Let’s see what’s going on there. What’s your sleep like?” Well, his sleep was all wacky. He was going to bed some nights at two in the morning, others at four in the morning, sometimes he fall asleep at seven, and his sleep schedule is all messed up, which accounted in great part four his irritability and not being able to get things done and all that.

So, our one step for him was saying, “Okay, you’re going to try to wake up about the same time every day. However you do it, the same time every day.” Well, what we started to notice with that one step is that he was on time for meetings with his boss. Now that was huge, and his boss gave him a lot of kudos for that, and he felt good and he felt prepared. And from then he was able to say, “Wait a minute, now that I know what my plan is for the week, I know what I’m supposed to do, I had that meeting, I’m not flailing and just grabbing at anything, and I’m able to get started and accomplish a little bit more.”

So this is how I built things up with Steve. Steve started to gain more momentum, he started to feel more confident, and then I said, “Okay, now that you’re waking up about the same every day, why don’t we try then the next level. Let’s try to say, if you were to get a little exercise in, might your focus be just a little better.” And he says, “Well, I don’t have time to work out, I only have like 15, 20 minutes.” I said, “Well, great. Peloton has a free app. You have a bike, or you have a format, 10 minutes of interval training will kick up your energy and focus to endure you to the end of the workday. Let’s give it a try, you like to exercise anyway, Steve.” He goes, “Yeah, I do.”

So one of the main things I do to help these clients flourish in their successes is to change their negative self talk to constructive self-talk. Like, “Hey, what did we do well, what do we need to improve upon? Let’s start changing the language of the way we speak to ourselves.”

Number two, many of my clients don’t know how to prioritize many tasks. And it’s just because they lacked some type of a criteria for doing so. So I said, let’s together, decide on a prioritizing criteria, and often involve things that are time sensitive and things that have strong personal value, like spending time with their family or having the connection with people. But we would look down and focus on what they need and what is important, or what they’re motivated to get done today.

And then, the third suggestion I had is for folks who are listening to look into a wonderful website, https://www.focusmate.com/. And this is live partner, that is live on the internet that you choose, maybe similar to you, like another graduate student or another entrepreneur, and you agree to sit down and do work together online, virtually. He’s doing his tasks online and you as the client, you’re doing your work at the same time. And everybody’s keeping everybody engaged and focused, and it works really, really well. Have you ever heard of that?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No. It sounds wonderful. That’s great. You just discovered that on your own?

Rebecca Shafir:

I did.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, aren’t you special? You are special. Focusmate.com, that sounds great.

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes, it’s a virtual study buddy.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And then the final one?

Rebecca Shafir:

The final one is, know your biological prime time for getting certain tasks done over others.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Now, what does that mean? I know you abbreviated it BPT.

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes. So biological prime time, is there a certain time of day when you write the best?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No, it really varies hugely. It varies on the day, sometimes not often, but sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and sometimes in the evening. I’m unusual that way. Most writers have a definite time, see, I can’t do that, I can’t have a definite time. And so I’ve learned over 40 years of writing to catch it when it hits. And that’s what I do. So my biological prime time varies from day to day.

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, but you can gauge it. You know what the day’s going to be like, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No, I don’t. I know it when it hits. And next thing you know, I pull out my laptop and start writing. Unless I’m in the middle of seeing a patient or doing a podcast with Becky.

Rebecca Shafir:

Well, for the rest of us, many of us, we might be better between, let’s say, 11 o’clock and two in the afternoon.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, and I think most people are like that. I think I’m an anomaly. Most people are what you’re describing. They have a reliable BPT, and your suggestion is to save your most taxing, difficult mental work for your BPT.

Rebecca Shafir:

That’s right. And do the folding of the laundry at 10 o’clock at night. So, sometimes that can make those more odious tasks look a little bit more tolerable and palatable if we set a schedule to apply those tasks to the best time for us to do them. That’s a great tip that’s often ignored. So there we go.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This is so wonderful. So to sum up, you’ve developed over your many years of coaching, a method you call core coaching, right?

Rebecca Shafir:

Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And your core method includes attention to sleep, exercise, emotional self regulation, and some degree of accountability, right?

Rebecca Shafir:

Correct.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And then you have a process that you reviewed with us, which you found is very effective in helping people, regardless of their actual level of helping them achieve even greater success. See what a good listener I am here. You concluded with your four tips of constructive self-talk and learning how to prioritize, and you referred us to focusmate.com. And then you urged us to work within our BPT, I love the BPT, or biological prime time, whatever that might happen to be, and I confessed that I’m an anomaly. I don’t know when it is, I just try to grab it when it comes. Now, if someone wanted to read one of your books, you go to Amazon and what’s the name of your book? The Zen of Listening, right?

Rebecca Shafir:

Zen of Listening. It’s now on audible.com too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wonderful, wonderful. So look for Rebecca Shafir, on Amazon. And if they wanted to get a coaching appointment with you, how would they do that?

Rebecca Shafir:

Sure. They can call the Hallowell Center at 978-287-0810 or they can email me at [email protected].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Or they can call the Hallowell center in Sudbury, 978-287-0810. And I can’t recommend Becky highly enough, I’ve known her, I don’t know how many years Becky, must be going on 30 years.

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

… Because I saw a photograph of her in the newspaper demonstrating karate. And one thing led to another, next thing I know we’re working together. And she’s one of the most multi-talented people I know. She can be a speaker, she can be a writer, she can be kicking butt in karate, she can be coaching, she can be doing speech language pathology. She’s endlessly curious for finding new innovative techniques. And if you happen to go to see her, you’ll be thrilled because she’ll be probably interesting you and something that you’d never even heard of. She does that with me all the time. A wonderfully brilliant multi-talented exceptional woman, Rebecca, Becky Shafir. Thank you so much for coming and joining us on Distraction.

Rebecca Shafir:

Thank you so much Ned, I hope it’s a help.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay, well, that’ll do it for today. If you’d like to reach out to Becky, as she said, you can find her at my center in Sudbury, Mass, by calling 978-287-0810 or go to hallowellcenter.org, or email Becky directly at [email protected]. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and mixed by the mixed up, but absolutely delightful, Pat Keogh. And our producer is the weld produced and absolutely brilliant Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, and thank you all so much for listening. We are banding together during this trying time and hope to bring you some interests as well as entertainment. Be well, stay safe.

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Distance Learning in a Pandemic

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Distance Learning in a Pandemic

Today’s conversation focuses on the current state of distance learning and its effects on students. Adam Man, Head of Forman School, a prep school in Connecticut for high-school students who learn differently, joins Ned to talk about how his students are adapting and offers advice for those who are struggling, regardless of whether or not they have ADHD.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut.

Share your thoughts with us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Adam Man:

I think there’s very few students who say, “You know what? I’d like to sit all day passively, shift gears among subjects, kind of every 45 to 50 minutes, take in exactly what the teacher’s telling me and be able to give it back to them exactly the way they want”. I mean, I look at that and think, “I don’t know who that was designed for. I don’t know who that student is.” But that’s somehow who we’ve imagined what our educational system should be.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell, and thank you so much for joining me. If you have a school aged child or a teenager, by now you are very familiar with the concept of distance learning. The pandemic has certainly seen to that. But students with learning differences like ADHD or dyslexia can have extra challenges making the leap to learning online or learning from home.

Today, my guest can offer some help. Adam Man, a wonderful man, indeed an educator par excellence, is the head of the Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut, a school that I’ve visited a few times and a really wonderful institution. It’s a traditional college prep boarding and day school dedicated to students who learn differently, i.e. really smart creative kids. Adam’s students are now learning from home. He joins me today to talk about how things are going. So Adam Man, welcome to Distraction.

Adam Man:

Thank you, Ned. It is a pleasure to be here. I’m a big fan, so I’m thrilled to be with you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, we’re thrilled to have you, that’s for sure. And how the world has changed, huh?

Adam Man:

Oh, very much so. Who would have thought just a couple of months ago that we would, such a dramatic change in all of education would occur. It is astounding.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Right. How are your kids handling it?

Adam Man:

I think like most kids. There are the challenges. I think for our students, just the sudden momentous change that took place is startling. I mean, the students left on spring break thinking they’ll be back in a couple of weeks and before they know it, we’re saying, “I’m sorry, you can’t come back. We’re going to need to work with you remotely for the remainder of the year.” And I think it’s especially challenging for our seniors because, I mean, all of them looking forward to all the traditions that we have throughout the spring and then obviously graduation and that’s just not going to happen. And I think that probably has been the greatest challenge for our students going forward, in that particular piece.

Adam Man:

I’m very impressed with the way our faculty responded and how quickly they moved and the amount of individual attention that they’re giving our students as they work remotely. I’m very, very proud of because I think that’s a key part of what we do. We know that this is not the ideal setting for a student with ADHD to be cooped up all day, in their house, with their siblings and their parents and not be able to go out, not have the routines and structures of school as well as the social interaction, the chance to run around outside and play sports, all those kinds of things. I think that makes it really hard for students, in general, not just for students with ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. And what tips might you have for kids who are facing a June with no graduation ceremony or, probably more importantly, kids who are every single day trying to learn online but finding it’s pretty difficult.

Adam Man:

Sure. I would say, first is you think about, I know that you have said this as well to families, to students is routines and structures are good things. And I’m not talking about a military march and step routine and structure, but rather predictability, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes.

Adam Man:

I know what today looks like. I know what tomorrow is going to look like. I know what my routine will be. Those things are really healthy and valuable and all those students, teenagers, want to push those boundaries all the time. That’s kind of in their DNA, that they’re hard wired at this age to do it. And our job is to push back, right? To say, “Oh no, there are structures and routines for a reason.” And absolutely you’re going to have to be flexible, certainly in this time with those, but it is really important for kids to know, “There is a predictable pattern of what my day is going to look like. There are structures and things that I can count on.” That is really key for kids at this point who just feel like everything has gone south.

Adam Man:

But going back to your first point about seniors and missing these traditions and my hope is, certainly, they’re at schools that are thinking about ways to recognize and honor their seniors throughout the spring and that their graduation may not be the one that they’re hoping for all in person, et cetera. But I would also hope that they’re planning on connecting with those students, with those teachers that were important to them at some future date to celebrate their experience. That knowing that there will be a future date where they will be able to be in person and they will be able to connect both with their peers, but also with those teachers that were important in their lives.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And what can’t be taken away from them is their experience.

Adam Man:

Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Maybe the day to celebrate that experience won’t happen as planned, but the experience itself, which after all is what’s being celebrated, is immutable and emblazoned in their memories forever.

Adam Man:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Couldn’t agree with you more.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

How about the actual act of learning online, of using Zoom or whatever platform you’re using? Have you learned anything about that, that we can pass along to other students or parents?

Adam Man:

Yeah, I mean I think Zoom is a careful balance, right? And online learning is a careful balance, in terms of between that synchronous in-person learning, which is important. Being able to talk to a teacher live, be able to ask questions, have a teacher respond in the moment, those are all important things. But sitting there all day in front of a computer is also incredibly challenging, especially with students who have ADHD, who are, there’s energy and focus, et cetera, and that forum is not ideal. So that really finding a way to break up your day, to be able to get out, to be able to move, to be able to get away from the computer, but also find times that you’re going to be able to connect and get perhaps some individualized or personalized support is going to be really important.

Adam Man:

As we looked at that at Forman, we try to balance our days between time when kids are in a Zoom class with the teacher and their peers, times when they can work independently and hopefully not all of that independent work is on a computer, but other formats that allow them to not be sitting passively in front of a computer. And then also, really importantly, time for them to be able to connect with that teacher in some one-on-one fashion that is going to allow it to be a bit more individualized and personalized. And Forman realized, part of what we do is really the ability to pay attention to each individual student’s needs and it’s really hard to do that in a Zoom forum. You’ve got to find ways to be able to do that more in a one-on-one fashion so that you’re really paying attention to where the student is, what they’re doing, for students to be able to express, “This is what’s working for me, this is what I’m confused about, this is what I’m not working about.” and be able to adjust.

Adam Man:

From a school, we can create a schedule, create a program that looks like that. If you’re at a school that you would say that’s not really what it is, try to find ways to be able to break up your day, try to find ways where you’re interjecting activity, not just sitting the whole time in front of a computer and then have ways to reach out to people who can help you. And I think for some of our students, their parents are in that role. I think for many of our parents what they would say, “I could do that for so long and I’ve got my job to do, or I don’t remember anything about Algebra 2 and I’m not that helpful.” Or just the natural frustration that happens with your parent also sometimes being your teacher.

I mean, I think that’s one of the things that we would say we learned a lot about it at Forman is that we can play a role that parents often can’t play, right. Where we can tell a student, you need to do this or you need to stop doing this and we don’t have all the baggage of being their parent, right? Or we have more of that neutrality.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes. You don’t have the power play or the nag factor getting in the way.

Adam Man:

Oh gosh, no. No child is going to say to me, “Remember that time when I was six and you left me behind.” We don’t have that, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Right.

Adam Man:

I mean, your best interest is in my heart, but there is no baggage between us. We are on a level playing field.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. Tell us a little bit about who was Forman for.

Adam Man:

Sure. So Forman School was founded in 1930 by John Forman. And at the time, very little was known about learning differences, but he had the sense of he wanted to create a school for what he described as bright students who just weren’t reaching their potential. And John was a smart, smart man because he surrounded him with people who knew a lot more than he did. So one of the earliest advisers he brought on was Dr. Samuel Orton, who would create the Orton-Gillingham method. They were really surrounded by people who knew a lot and were thinking a lot about how people learn differently and that’s really what Forman is. We’re a school for students who are bright students, about a quarter of our kids are actually gifted intellectually, who being in a conventional school setting, in a traditional school setting, is not the right place. They need a place that’s more innovative, that’s more forward thinking, that’s more individualized to who they are. And as a result of that experience, it’s getting them ready for college. 100% of our students go on to university. They go on to lead lives in all kinds of careers.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

100%? I got to pause there. 100% go on to college.

Adam Man:

100%, 100%, absolutely. And go on and fill every different type of career field you could imagine.

And for us, it’s the sense of the students who come here, we’re saying to them, “We want to help you get to know yourself, who you are as a learner. What do you do well because there are probably things you do fantastically well and those are going to be the things that are going to take you the rest of your life. That’s going to be supporting your journey. There are things you don’t do well, like everyone. And so we need to help you figure out what those are. Help you build up your toolbox so those things don’t hold you back. Help you learn to be self confident, help you to learn how to advocate for what you need.” Because that’s the key. I mean, Ned, you know the statistics of how many students who qualified for some type of support or accommodation in high school, go off to college and never even ask for it.

They never even go by the office to say, “You know what, I need might need extended time or I might need the notes for this lecture.” They don’t use it in college and that is a recipe for disaster. And so, we need our students to realize, “You’ve got a lot you’re bringing to this conversation. You’ve got a lot you’re bringing to the table. But there are things, like all of us, we don’t do well and you need to be okay about being able to go forward and say, ‘This is what I’m going to need to be successful. And if I have these things, you’re not going to be able to hold me back.'”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And you really understand different learners. You really see the strength in it.

Adam Man:

Oh gosh, yes. I mean, absolutely. I mean, that’s the wonderful thing. I think if you look at what happens in most high schools across the globe, they really are tailored for a very small sliver of what would be adolescents out there, right? I mean, I think there’s very few students who say, “You know what? I’d like to sit all day passively, shift gears among subjects, kind of every 45 to 50 minutes, take in exactly what the teacher’s telling me and be able to give it back to them exactly the way they want.” I mean, I look at that and think, “I don’t know who that was designed for. I don’t know who that student is, but that’s somehow who we’ve imagined what our educational system should be.”

Forman is really looking at it and saying, “We know our kids are incredibly talented and they do amazing things here. They’re going to do amazing things later.” We have an incredible alumni body who has done amazing things. So it’s really tapping into each student’s strengths and really supporting them, letting them go to the nth degree in that era. But also helping them understand, “All right, here are things we can help you be better at. And here’s things that we can help you so that they don’t become hindrances for all the things that you are going to accomplish.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

It’s a wonderful school. And you have day as well as boarding, right?

Adam Man:

We do, absolutely.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. And what grades again?

Adam Man:

High school. So grades nine through 12.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Nine through 12, wonderful. It’s just one of the absolute best of its kind. And if you have one of those gifted different learners who have ADHD and dyslexia like me, consider Forman, a fantastic, fantastic school. Adam Man, head of Forman. Thank you so much for coming on Distraction.

Adam Man:

Thank you, Ned. I really appreciate it. It’s been terrific and we hope to see you again here when we’re not in quarantine.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes, I hope to come up. Please invite me and I’ll be there.

Adam Man:

Sounds great. Thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay, well, that will do it for us today. If you’d like to learn more about the Forman School, and I hope you will, go to Formanschool.org. And remember to connect with us, share your thoughts, questions, and show ideas by emailing us at [email protected]. We love hearing from you. We often devote entire shows to your questions, your comments, and certainly we create shows around the ideas you send us. So please, we’re growing and building community. We would love to hear from you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the illustrious and incredibly literate, Pat Keogh. And our producer is the constantly creative, always coming up with new ideas, Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell and thank you so very, very much for joining me.

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5 Tips for Parenting in a Pandemic

5 Tips for Parenting in a Pandemic

Parents of children with ADHD we are thinking of you! Dr. Hallowell offers five ways to help you manage your kids while quarantined. These are simple things everyone can employ– like having set breakfast, lunch and dinner times. And they’ll work even if your kids don’t have ADHD.
As you’ll hear, structure plays a key role!
What are you doing to stay sane? Share your thoughts with us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe third party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

And by Landmark College offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Each week we’ve been putting out what we’re calling a mental health check during this pandemic. And today I’d like to address the specifically people at home with children who have ADHD, which I have myself. And give sort of a overview of the issue and then a few little tips that might be helpful to you.

You know people with ADD, we are born renegades. We like to run wild and run free. We are open prairie people. So our idea of hell is being cooped up, stuck in one place. Reined in. We hate rules. We hate being told what to do. The best way to get us not to do something is to tell us to do it.

So now, we’ve got this total terrible situation where we all have to stay indoors and we all have to play by really tough rules of not interacting, not going out and being cooped up. And so, the people with ADD particularly, nobody likes it, but people with ADD hate it. It pushes all of our buttons.

So the first tip if you will, is just to recognize that fact. If you have ADD, if your kids have ADD and you’re having to shelter at home, just be aware that that is a setup. That is a setup for all kinds of conflict, for anger, for tantrums, for breaking rules, for busting out. And try to acknowledge that amongst each other. Say, “This is real stressful for us,” and don’t be surprised when fires break out so to speak, when tempers flare.

So other than recognizing it, which is a big deal. Once you recognize something and name it, it’s a lot easier to deal with. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s easier. One really good tip is to structure your day. People with ADD need structure. We bristle at it, we push back at it, but we really want it.

Structure is like the walls of the bobsled ride. You know my analogy for ADD, a Ferrari brain with bicycle brakes. Well, structure strengthens brakes. And structure, contrary to popular belief, potentiates, enhances creativity. Far from repressing it, structure enables creativity.

And my two favorite examples are Shakespeare and Mozart. Shakespeare wrote everything in iambic pentameter. Bu-ba-bu-ba-bu-ba-bu-ba. All of his stories, iambic pentameter, blank verse, very structured. And yet within that structure he created infinite variety, the most beautiful poetry that’s ever been written in English.

And Mozart, the same with music. He wrote within very tight forms, very tight forms. But within that tightness he created unbelievable beauty and variety. So think Shakespeare, think Mozart when you’re creating structure. You’re not being a repressive schoolmarm at all. Without structure you have chaos. With structure you have potentially beauty, but certainly your chances at harmony, living at home, sheltering at home, are much greater.

So what do I mean by structure? Have a schedule, have a breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time. Have a project. Okay, your project Joey is to design the house you’d like to live in when you get to be 30 years old. Draw it on a piece of paper. And Sally, your project is to call grandma and grandpa and get their life story and start a grandparent book. And your project is to make sandwiches for lunch.

I mean give everybody a project. Or even better, let them design their own project. So the projects can be you make up your own or mom and dad will give you one. Either way but have them have a project, have them have a structure and have them have goals for the day. Structure is really, really important.

Another little tip is to have games. This is a great time for games, board games, charades, hide and seek around the house, have games. Games are also, it’s a kind of a project. And it engages the imagination, which is what you want to do.

A third tip is to allow for space. If you live in a place that’s big enough, try to let people go off into corners by themselves. This is not the time to force togetherness. This is the time to give permission for people to go off to their room, lie on their bed, read a book, veg out, what have you. Because that togetherness, you can reach a critical mass and the next thing you know you’re fighting with each other.

And then finally, expectations. Try to manage your expectations. So, you anticipate there will be conflict. And you anticipate, what Ross Greene calls, collaborative problem solving. Instead of issuing orders, you issue alternatives. Try this, that, or the other thing, and work out the differences that way.

So those five suggestions, add structure, play games, allow for space, create projects for everybody every day and manage your expectations so they’re in some concordance with reality and reasonable expectations. It’s a hard time, but it can also be memorable in a good way of closeness and learning how to get along during periods of stress.

That’s it for this mini episode. Before I go, I’d just like to thank our sponsor, our wonderful, wonderful sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. That’s OmegaBrite, O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E, intentionally misspelled. I take it every day along with their Omega-3 fatty acid supplement and I highly recommend them both. OmegaBrite CBD, was formulated by Dr. Carol Locke of Harvard Medical School. And her company OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years.

She’s really a remarkable woman and the work she’s done is truly outstanding. All our products are safe, third party tested and they work. I can tell you, I take them as does my wife as well. Please help support our podcast and check out OmegaBrite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com.

Okay. Remember to reach out to us with your comments and questions. We need them. We love them, we grow from them. They’re our mother’s milk. Reach out to us please with your comments and questions and thank you to those who have been sending in emails. We just love them. You have no idea how our eyes light up when we see a new email from you guys. We truly mean that. We love hearing from you.

If you have a question, a comment, or a show idea, anything, try recording your thoughts as a voice memo on your phone and then email the file to us at [email protected]. We really will absolutely read them all and mull them over and very likely do what you suggest. Unless your suggestion is for us to go jump in the lake. Well, maybe we’d do that when it gets warmer.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media and our recording engineer is the amazingly talented Pat Keogh. Our producer is the also amazingly talented, delightful Mary Poppins-esque, as I love to call her, Sarah Guertin. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell and thank you, thank you, thank you so much for listening.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe third party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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How to Stop Losing Your Stuff with How to ADHD and Landmark College

How to Stop Losing Your Stuff with How to ADHD and Landmark College

If you can’t ever remember where you put your keys, phone, wallet or whatever, help is on the way! Jessica McCabe of How to ADHD shares a bunch of useful tips and strategies to help you stop losing things in this special episode sponsored by Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently!

Check out all of Jessica’s amazing ADHD content on her website at HowtoADHD.

Share your thoughts with us by writing an email, or recording a message using the voice memo app on your phone, and sending it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Do you know a student with ADHD or other learning difference looking for a higher education experience? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. Find out more HERE.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. I’m here with a special episode brought to you by our wonderful sponsor Landmark College in beautiful, beautiful Putney, Vermont. The college of choice for students who learn differently.

And to help with this special episode, I am joined by one of our all time favorites, Jessica McCabe, the host of How to ADHD, which now she told me has 360,000 followers. So you should join and be 360,001.

Not that many people follow something unless it’s really worthwhile. And Jessica, she’s just full of positive energy and wisdom and smarts and knowledge and for her tender young age, she sure does know an awful lot. Welcome to Distraction, Jessica.

Jessica McCabe:

Thank you. Gosh, you are just so good for my self esteem. Probably everybody should be on the show just to hear how you talk about them. Thank you. That was really kind of you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

It is all true. What was it you wanted to talk to us about in this special episode?

Jessica McCabe:

I do work really hard to create a good show. I also lose things a lot. And I finally tackled that on the channel and I wanted to talk about here too because while I was doing the research and writing that episode, I realized how much of a difference it made in my life that I lost everything. It was my first ADHD symptom that I remember. I would come home without my jacket almost every day. I spent way too much time looking through the lost and found box, and I used to feel really bad about it. It affected my life in a lot of ways because then I wouldn’t have my favorite whatever.

Or, I remember in fourth grade somebody gave me these really precious earrings and they were the first time that somebody gave me real gemstone earrings. It was a family friend and they were real Topaz, which is my birthstone. And it was like two days before I lost them and I felt so bad. And since then I’ve always told people, “Don’t give me anything nice because I will lose it.”

And I’ve also just carried around this sense of like incompetence and paid the ADHD tax of having to replace things so many times. And I used to just think this was this character defect. It was just something wrong with me that I keep, this is why I can’t have nice things. And then I realized doing this research, it really is our ADHD that makes it so difficult to hold onto things. We’re often distracted when we put stuff down or we impulsively set it down for just a second and then end up doing five other things. And then when we go looking for things to make things more challenging, our brains don’t filter out extraneous stimuli very well.

When we go looking for the thing, we see all these other things that need our attention. So we end up responding to these. And this, by the way, is also often why we’re late. And so it has this incredible ripple effect throughout our entire lives that we lose things so often. And I finally decided to tackle it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes. And how did you do that?

Jessica McCabe:

Well, I took my mom’s advice. She always told us growing up, “Have a place for everything and everything in its place.” Have a dedicated place for everything so that you know when you are distracted you can still automatically put things where they go and you know where to look for it later so it’s easy to find it.

And for her, that’s the end of the story and that’s great. But the thing is, for those of us with ADHD brains, the very same parts of our brain that benefit from having a place for everything are also the ones that make it, those are the parts of our brain that make it really hard to have a place for everything.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

It is. Right.

Jessica McCabe:

Because, I don’t know about you, I walk into a room and I just explode. Whatever got with me is suddenly just all over the room. It’s really hard for me actually. I know there are some people with ADHD that can be extremely organized and that’s a coping mechanism for them.

I try. Every fall, going back to school, I would try and I’d have these elaborate systems that I would set up and I would just, they would fall apart within a week or two. So I think, from the research that I’ve done, I think the key to cutting back on losing things, and I don’t think it’s ever going to be perfect, but the key to reducing the amount of things that we lose is to make it more ADHD friendly to have a place for everything.

One of those strategies that I found is to do what’s called putting things at the point of performance. Where we use the thing, is where the thing should go. And for me, and for probably a lot of people with ADHD, that means having multiple copies of things. I used to think it was a waste of money to do that. But then I think about all the jobs I’ve lost from being late or the extra things that I’ve had to buy because I lost them. And it’s actually more cost effective probably to just have a charger at every station that you tend to charge your devices at so you don’t port it everywhere and lose it and then don’t have it. And then your phone dies and then you can’t call work to tell them you’re going to be late, or whatever it is.

Yeah. Have a charger at every place that you tend to charge your phone. I tend to train my dog in the kitchen, so that’s where I put her treats. I tend to need her to leave me alone when I’m in the office, so that’s where I put her bones. I started really being conscious about put things where I will use them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Just such a good principle. Let me just quickly interrupt and say, Jessica is brought to us through the courtesy and good will of Landmark College, the school for students who learn differently. It is located in beautiful Putney, Vermont.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So please go on Jessica, sorry to interrupt.

Jessica McCabe:

No, you can tell I’m really passionate about this. I’m like, I must share this with everybody. Because I wish, this is what I wish I’d known when I was in college. It would have made things a lot easier.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. I’m sure it would of.

Jessica McCabe:

That, yeah, put things where you’re going to use them and then also make it as easy as possible to put it back. Because it doesn’t matter if there’s a place for everything, if it doesn’t actually end up in that place. But I tend to be really impulsive, really impatient. And so things like I have a coat closet but it’s so much effort to open the door, get a hanger out, take my jacket off, put the jacket on the hanger, zip it up, stick it back in and close the door. So I just got a coat rack and I just throw my coat on that and now I’ll actually do it instead of it ending up on the couch or on the floor.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

You have to make the place user-friendly, too.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah, exactly. And the cool thing is by making it user friendly for somebody with ADHD, it really makes it user friendly for everybody. There’s really no reason not to do this. Minimize the number of steps involved, make it mentally easy by making it clear where the thing goes. Label makers are really good for this. If you don’t have a label maker, a post it note or whatever. It seems so silly to have to do this, but it really does help our brains out so much if we don’t have to process, okay, I’m holding this thing, where does this thing go?

Jessica McCabe:

If there’s just a label that says “This is where it goes.” It’s like, okay, I don’t even have to think about it. It’s going to be so much more likely that I put it there. Clear containers, I never really understood why this was recommended for people with ADHD all the time and then I got some and I’m like, right. Because now my dog’s bones are in a clear container, so I don’t have to remember which container it’s in or even read a label. I can just see them, and it’s so much easier.

Jessica McCabe:

And then the other couple of tips, make it satisfying or enjoyable. If you get a mini reward for putting it there, there’s a key hook you really like, it makes you smile every time you look at it, you’re more likely to put your keys there. If you have a pretty comforter or a bedspread, if you like the way your bed looks when it’s made, maybe you’ll be a little more likely to make it. And again, these are things where it’s like, that shouldn’t matter. We get stuck in shoulds and shouldn’ts and I should just do the thing. I shouldn’t need this extra stuff.

Jessica McCabe:

But still, this is the way our brain works.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Absolutely.

Jessica McCabe:

And I think we should use whatever tools we have at our disposal.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Absolutely. No, and the fact that you feel good once you do it as a natural reinforcer.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah, exactly. And we do, we need those little reinforcements. Because the whole well you know, it’ll be good for me to get into this habit. That’s just not motivating enough, to be honest. When you’ve got a million other things going on, you’ve got other things you’re thinking about. It’s just like, you’re not thinking when you throw your coat on the ground, you’re not thinking, God, then I’m going to have to go dry clean it and this and that.

It’s just in that moment it’s the easiest thing. If you make the easiest thing to throw it on a coat hook, well, now you don’t have to worry about it later. And then, and this I think is worth mentioning, a lot of times people see, walk into somebody’s house with ADHD and this has happened to me. Or somebody’s bedroom with ADHD, and they’re like, “God, this is a mess. Let me help you clean it up.” I’m actually really opposed to this because if somebody comes in and helps us clean up and we don’t know where things go, well now we really have no idea where anything is.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. That’s awful.

Jessica McCabe:

Right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah.

Jessica McCabe:

And so sometimes we have organizational strategies that maybe don’t make sense to other people, but I’m a really big believer in we should be the ones to clean up. We can get support, having a body double there, having somebody in the room with us, encouraging us or whatever. But we should be the ones to do it so that we know where things go.

This was part of the problem. My mom used to clean up for me all the time and at the time it was like, that’s great. And then the next morning I’d go to look for my stuff and I’ve no idea where it is. And then I never learned how to clean up myself. And so now I’m an adult and I’ve no, my apartments are always a disaster because I’m like, wait, this apartment didn’t come with a mom.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Not many apartments do.

Jessica McCabe:

No, it’s really unfortunate. I keep looking for the apartment that comes with that as an amenity and I’ve yet to find it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, if you get really wealthy then you can just hire someone to do everything for you. But even then you want the feeling of I’m doing some of this by myself.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah. And you want to be able to know where stuff goes. I’ve had a maid come and clean before and just I’m completely lost for like a week. I don’t know where they put anything.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. Right. Exactly.

Jessica McCabe:

So at the very least, we should be involved in the decision making process of where things should go, and then label them. And then a couple more things is, this I learned from waiting tables, which is scan for strays.

Before you leave a room or at the end of the day, you scan for things that aren’t where they belong and put them back as you go. Because that’s generally a lot more ADHD friendly than, especially if you’re a student, if you’re in college going “Saturdays I clean my room.” Probably not. It’s probably not going to happen. But if you get in the habit of scanning as you go and at least the things you know you’re going to need, like, “There’s a textbook on my bed. I should probably put that back on the bookshelf or back in my backpack or wherever I need it to be.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What’s the line from waiting tables. What did you say?

Jessica McCabe:

Scan for strays. Look for anything that’s not, as a server you’re looking for-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What does that have to do with waiting tables?

Jessica McCabe:

As a server, you’re constantly looking for dirty dishes or constantly looking for the coffee pot isn’t where it’s supposed to go. The trays aren’t where they’re supposed to go. You’re constantly-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Scan for, I waited tables for a whole summer and I never learned about scan for strays, so. That’s a great principle, scan for strays.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah. And that way you clean as you go, which is a lot, it’s just a lot more tolerable. It doesn’t feel as big a thing, but you’re constantly cleaning up just a little bit and then it doesn’t get as overwhelming I think.

And then the last thing is keeping consistent. It can be hard, when you’re moving, when you’re going to college, but if you try to have whatever spot you set up, have that stay consistent as possible, then it’s a lot easier because if a spot for something keeps changing, it disrupts our ability to put it there automatically and know where to look. So I would deal with this when I used to think that having lots of purses was a good idea, because I’d have, things could be in my backpack or in this purse or in this purse or in this purse.

Jessica McCabe:

Finally I’m like, I get one purse. And one backpack. That’s it. Because the fewer that something could be, the less time we’re going to spend on looking for it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. That’s such a great principle.

Jessica McCabe:

Thanks.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

The fewer places to look, the more likely you’ll find it.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah. And then the last thing is, get a tile. Seriously, do you use those Dr. Hall?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes.

Jessica McCabe:

Do you use Tiles?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I have it on my key chain, all the time.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah. Anything that travels that’s important, like a remote or your key chain or I stick it in my bullet journal. Anything you do have to take from place to place, it’s such a good idea to have a tracking device on it.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah, I use Tile. I’m sure there are other ones out there, but that’s the one I was introduced to and I like them a lot.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

As always, Jessica, you are a treasure trove of tips. Any of you listening, you can find many more by going to Jessica’s website, HowtoADHD.com. And your YouTube channel is what? Just, How to ADHD again?

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah. youtube.com/howtoADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

That’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. Well, thank you so much. And Landmark College, thanks you, the wonderful sponsor that we have. Learn more about how they help students with ADHD succeed in college at LCDistraction.org.

I kid about it, but this truly is the best in the world at what they do. And if you want to get ready for college or supplement college or have it be your college experience and you have one of these wonderful brains that Jessica and I share and talk about, go to LCDistraction.org.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and edited by the amazingly talented Pat Keogh, and our producer is the unbelievably awesome star of stage and screen, Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, and thank you so much for listening.

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An ADHD Diagnosis Is Good News

An ADHD Diagnosis Is Good News

Pediatric neurologist, Dr. Sarah Cheyette, is an expert at working with kids and young adults with ADHD. She believes that while the condition has its challenges, an ADHD diagnosis actually allows people to become much stronger versions of themselves.

Check out Dr. Sarah Cheyette’s website at: SarahCheyette.com.

To purchase one of her books (which are available in audio versions read by Dr. Cheyette) go HERE.

In this episode you’ll also hear from Dr. Carol Locke, the founder and creator of OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Director of online learning at Landmark College, Denise Jaffe, also makes an appearance in this episode to talk about the dual enrollment program they offer for high school students who learn differently. Learn more about our sponsor’s program HERE or HERE.

Reach out to us! Share your thoughts and questions by sending an email or voice memo to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years, OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com and by Landmark College offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org, Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

That is exactly why I love treating ADHD is because you can be so successful as a treatment provider because treatments work really well and you really hand people their lives and it’s really nice. People think, “Oh, ADHD is fluffy. It’s not… Whatever.” But my goodness, I can make a huge difference in people’s lives from childhood to adults and gosh, that’s a wonderful thing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Today we have a very special guest from the other side of the country, from California, a pediatric neurologist, a Princeton graduate, UCLA Medical School graduate, and a fan of and an expert on ADHD. It’s not common to find a pediatric neurologist who specializes in this and not only specializes, but has written a couple of books about it, ADHD and the Focused Mind and Winning with ADHD. This wonderful woman’s name is Dr. Sarah Cheyette, she is a brilliant woman and a wonderful woman to have on Distraction. Hello, Dr. Cheyette!

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

Thank you so much for that wonderful introduction Ned, and thanks for having me on the show. I’m delighted to be here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, it’s terrific to have you, just mentioned your website is sarahcheyette.com. S-A-R-A-H-C-H-E-Y-E-T-T-E.com. I have to prove to our listeners that I can actually read without reversing letters. So how did you get into this field, Dr. Cheyette?

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

That’s an interesting question because as you said, there’s not that many pediatric neurologist who like to treat ADHD. But as I was taking histories on my patients with headaches, I would find that they might have the headaches because of difficulty concentrating or anxieties. I would find they would have anxiety because of difficulty concentrating. ADHD affects so many things that it’s not hard to find it when you’re dealing with neurology.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And did you learn about it during your fellowship? When did you learn about it?

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

Well, actually not much during my fellowship because as you know with medical training, a lot of that is in-patient. So a lot of the outpatient stuff became something that I learned in private practice and also from mentors such as yourself and from books and from conferences and all the ways we learn things all our lives.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And do you have a personal interest? Do you have it yourself or any of your children have it?

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

No, I don’t have any children who have been diagnosed with ADHD, although certainly many of their teachers might’ve had an argument with me here or there about that for two of them, but I have four kids and I certainly know how a distracted child looks, but nobody has had a diagnosis of ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So what would you like to tell our listeners about ADHD?

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

Well, what I think the important thing about ADHD is that, it doesn’t always have to be a negative. It’s certainly a negative in some situations, but we all have our positives and negatives. And ADHD is a wonderful thing at times, but it can be difficult at times. That’s nothing that your listeners don’t already know, but it certainly bears repeating.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. And what would you say are the… What’s the upside of it?

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

The upside of it? When you learn how to deal with ADHD and meet your challenges there, you can become much stronger there. If you learn how to deal with hard situations, you usually get very good at hard situations. When people come in and get a diagnosis of ADHD, sometimes it’s very liberating for them because they say, “That explains a lot and it’s not just me being bad or my child being bad.” But they are sometimes surprised to hear about all the things that they can do. One of my pet peeves is when I hear them say, “I can’t do X, Y and Z because of my ADHD.” And that’s not a mindset that I like to hear.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What do you think is the biggest undiagnosed group who have ADHD? I’ll tell you what I think it is, it’s adult women, and you specialize in that?

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

Oh, I definitely deal with a lot of adult women and some of these are the parents of patients. Their kids had come in to see me and then they decided that they need to come in and see me too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes, yes.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

As a mom, when you have ADHD as a mom, it takes an already very distracting situation and it magnifies that. When you have kids, getting up and going to the bathroom for two minutes by yourself without getting interrupted, it’s a notable event and the more that people get interrupted, the more their ADHD gets exacerbated. But especially with women, women feel they have to do everything for all people all the time. That’s, obviously a broad generalization but it’s true of a lot of moms that I know.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

So they have a hard time prioritizing one thing over the other. Mom is getting constantly pulled in different directions because it’s harder for her to say, “Nope, I’ll be with you in a minute.” So practicing those words are often pretty helpful. The value of completing something before you move on is absolutely something that needs to be rehearsed with a lot of people.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

Plus the anxiety piece I think is quieter in moms. The windup usually by the time they’re moms, if they have ADHD, then they feel behind a lot. And even if they don’t have kids, even with their jobs and mates and so on, pulling them in different directions, they can develop a lot of anxiety and the anxiety is this quiet piece of it that is comorbid with the ADHD. Sometimes the anxiety piece gets recognized but the ADHD piece doesn’t get recognized. And so sort of like the canary in the coal mine, whenever I talk and the woman feels anxious, we do talk about whether there could be a history of ADHD because that really can contribute to anxiety.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Really cause the anxiety.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

Yes, that’s exactly right. And then when you have anxious thinking it’s harder to focus and then the outcome is worse and then it makes you more anxious.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Exactly. And then it makes you depressed because you’re not doing as well as you should.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What happens most of the time is the unknowing doctor, diagnoses anxiety and depression and puts them on an SSRI, which is not at all what they need.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

That’s exactly right. And it can take a long time to figure that out. Weeks, months or years. And what these women need is to control the ADHD first and then the anxiety gets better. But one problem that some, I think primary care doctors have, and also some patients after they read the side effects, they come back and they say, “Hey doc, don’t you know that this medicine can cause anxiety?”

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

And we talk about the fact that yes it can make some people anxious but the idea would be to try it, see if it makes you less anxious and then hope it does.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Right. No, exactly. And it’s in and out of your system in a matter of hours. So if it should happen to make more anxious, you only have to put up with it for a matter of hours. In my experience at least 9 out of 10 people feel better with it, not more anxious.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

I agree. That’s my experience too. And if you read the side effects to coffee, it will also say it can cause anxiety but people leap ahead for that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Sure. I mean the whole world is caffeinated. Coffee is my medication because the prescription stimulants don’t work for me. I have ADHD as well as Dyslexia.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

There you go. And sometimes there’s Comorbid Sleep Apnea where the coffee helps with that or as you know, the ADHD medications are also used to manage the side effects, the problems with feeling sleepy during the day if you have Sleep Apnea.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay, we’re going to pause right here for just a moment. Joining me now is Dr. Carol Locke, the creator and founder of OmegaBrite Wellness. She’s extremely fussy about purity and pharmaceutical grade and all the kinds of things you want someone to be fussy about. She’s here today for a follow-up conversation about the health benefits of CBD and Omega-3. As you know, Carol joined me a few weeks ago in the episode we released called, Tools To Help You Stay Calm. Carol, it’s great to have you back.

Dr. Carol Locke:

It’s great to be here Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So, let’s just get right to it. Why is taking Omega-3 supplements good for us?

Dr. Carol Locke:

Omega-3s are vital for our bodies. They’re vital for our brain, for our eye, as well as for our cardiac health.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And in these days of the pandemic and COVID-19, do Omega-3s take on added value and importance?

Dr. Carol Locke:

They do, Ned. During this time as people are stressed every day, both from the COVID pandemic as well as from being hunkered down, that level of stress becomes chronic and that creates inflammation in the body. Omega-3s can help lower and create a positive inflammatory balance in the body. So they are very important from that point of view, as well as for cardiac protection and in protecting our mood during this time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So they’re even good for mood.

Dr. Carol Locke:

They’re very good for mood. And the research over the years has proven now that Omega-3s do promote positive mood, they help prevent and treat depression and reduce anxiety.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Now, how can the average intelligence skeptic, like many of our listeners, be sure that it’s worth the money to get a more expensive brand like OmegaBrite versus the least expensive brand out there?

Dr. Carol Locke:

Well, good question. You want, when you buy a supplement, to have it be proven in science and proven in science, in human beings. And so, OmegaBrite has been proven in clinical studies at major academic centers.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And what dose and what ratios matter here?

Dr. Carol Locke:

Well, the ratio that OmegaBrite, that we developed, was a high EPA ratio. The dose in the study, that has been shown to be effective is three capsules of OmegaBrite a day up to six capsules a day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Now, EPA doesn’t mean Environmental Protection Agency. What does EPA mean?

Dr. Carol Locke:

EPA is, Eicosapentaenoic acid.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), okay. Switching gears slightly, what are CBDs?

Dr. Carol Locke:

Well, CBD is a cannabinoid, so CBD is the best known one and the best studied.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And who should take them and why?

Dr. Carol Locke:

We all have an Endocannabinoid system in our body, which is a self signaling system that helps maintain our mood, helps maintain homeostasis, is involved in learning and in memory and in inflammation as well as many other areas. And so many people benefit Ned from taking them for pain. Sleep is another big one. People are having a really good benefit reducing anxiety, which right now is particularly important during this time of stress as well as positive mood and people are using them as well for depression.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, I can tell you personally, and I’m saying this not just because you sponsor our podcast, but because it’s the truth. I love your CBD product. I’ve been taking it for about six weeks now. I’m just less reactive, less impatient, less apt to spout off, and it’s noticeable. It really is, and I love it. I don’t like it if I forget to take it, it doesn’t tranquilize me at all. So it doesn’t take anything away in terms of energy or alertness. It just takes the edge off of my impatience and reactive ADD nature.

Dr. Carol Locke:

That’s fantastic. I think that is a benefit. I think that people report feeling more themselves and less pressure. Your description is really apt. Ned, did you feel it happened right away? How long did it take for that?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, it happened right away.

Dr. Carol Locke:

How do you feel as far as on your ability to focus on tasks or accomplish what you want?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, no, I’ve mastered that one. My medication is caffeine, so caffeine is my focus drug and now CBD and OmegaBrite fatty acids, Omega-3s are my mood medication. One more product that I want to ask you about that you also make you, you have a vitamin D supplement that you produce, why should we all take that?

Dr. Carol Locke:

We have discovered and new research shows that it’s important for fighting respiratory infections. So it’s recommended right now to help people ward off any respiratory infections and hopefully that would include any viruses. And it’s also helpful for your immune health overall as well as your bone health.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, thank you so much. We have Omega-3 supplements from OmegaBrite, we have CBD and we have vitamin D and if you want to get more or learn more, go to omegabritewellness.com and that’s intentionally misspelled.

Thank you so much for joining us Carol, and thank you for sponsoring Distraction.

Dr. Carol Locke:

Thanks so much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

All right, Dr. Sarah Cheyette. Tell our listeners how a successful diagnosis and treatment can change, let’s say, an adult woman’s life for the better.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

I love it when people get treated and the treatment works because they feel like they have a new lease on life. They’ll go back and say, “Oh, if I only had this during high school or college or whatever.” But it’s not very fruitful to go do that. And you can point out that you are who you are today because of all your experiences. When it works, it takes somebody who feels terrible about themselves a lot of times to making them feel good and normal and they are respectable and I just love that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. That’s why I love my job too. People don’t realize what a good news diagnosis this is, once you get the diagnosis things are only going to improve.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

Exactly. Because you can treat the right problems and address the right things. And that is exactly why I love treating ADHD is because you can be so successful as a treatment provider because treatments work really well and you really hand people their lives and it’s really nice. People think, “Oh, ADHD is fluffy. It’s not… Whatever.” But my goodness, I can make a huge difference in people’s lives from childhood to adults and gosh, that’s a wonderful thing.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

I was really, really surprised how few medical doctors were there at the last ADHD convention in Philadelphia. I mean, I love that there were coaches and psychologists and so on, but this is something that people also go to their medical doctors for all the time. And I don’t know if it’s because in recent years we’ve had an array of new medications, although they’re not that new and they mainly have different names and slightly different releases, But I don’t know if people are feeling unconfident about prescribing also, as you mentioned or as we talked about earlier, it’s not something people learn about in their training very much it’s something that is an outpatient thing that they may or may not feel comfortable learning on their own.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Right, right. No, exactly. But meanwhile, there are doctors like you out there and it’s too bad someone has to luck into seeing you because as we’ve said, an awful lot of doctors would diagnose depression and anxiety in this hypothetical female patient instead of the underlying ADHD and then she would never get the treatment that could really change her life.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

That’s absolutely true.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay. We’ll get right back to the conversation in just a moment. On the phone with me now is Denise Jaffe, the director of online learning at Landmark College, our wonderful sponsor and the college of choice for students who learn differently. Denise is there to tell us about Landmark College’s dual enrollment program, which offers college level courses to rising high school juniors, seniors and gap year students who struggle with learning primarily due to a learning disability such as dyslexia, ADHD, autism and executive function challenges. Thank you so much for joining me, Denise.

Denise Jaffe:

Hello, Dr. Hallowell. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to talk about our dual enrollment program. We offer a 100% online program for rising high school juniors and seniors. And what I mean by rising is that they are college bound and interested in taking a college course to see if college is the goal that they want to have. Our courses run everything from introduction to business and communications, computer applications, psychology, sociology, creative writing, personal finance and math, and we focus on college preparedness and transition. For example, we want to ensure that they have the academic skills and the executive function skills to go to college. So our courses are set up to provide students who learn differently with more guidance, more hand rails in order for them to feel and be successful.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), wonderful. So you give them the support they need and you teach them the skills they need?

Denise Jaffe:

We do. Our courses are highly personalized and supportive, enabling our students to develop and hone those critical academic skills while they’re exploring their interests and earning college credits.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, so they get college credit and they’re getting skills that they’ll need when they get to college, regardless of the subject they’re taking.

Denise Jaffe:

Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

That’s a terrific service. If they want to learn more, where should they go?

Denise Jaffe:

They should go to the Landmark website at landmark.edu/dual will take them directly to the dual enrollment program with more information and our applications.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wonderful and what’s the fee for the program?

Denise Jaffe:

The fee is $1,000. It’s a 14 week semester, three college credits. There’s a second hand rail support called the Course Advisor that is specifically for executive function support and then our department because all three in addition to the family or the school that they’re coming from, support that student towards success.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Boy, it’s a bargain. That’s a great thing. What a terrific, terrific program. Thank you so much. If you’d like to learn more about online learning at Landmark College, go to lcdistraction.org or the website that Denise already gave you. Denise Jaffe, thank you so much for giving us this really valuable information. And again, congratulations for the wonderful work you all do at Landmark College.

Denise Jaffe:

Thank you so much.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

I have a hope that in time, it will catch up to ADHD treatment. You may be able to speak to this, but maybe, well it’s only recently we’ve really been talking a lot about ADHD as a adult diagnosis, and probably there was a time when primary care doctors did not treat women very much, or men, for anxiety or depression. Maybe they referred them onwards and maybe the ADHD diagnosis just has to catch up.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. Well let’s hope it catches up fast. I’m doing my best and you’re doing your best. Dr. Sarah Cheyette, her books, ADHD and The Focused Mind that she wrote with her husband Ben and Winning with ADHD that she wrote with a younger colleague by the name of Grace Friedman, wonderful resource. And then Mommy, My Head Hurts, A Doctor’s Guide to Your Child’s Headache. So she doesn’t just do ADHD. She does full service neurology, doing a great service to the Bay area and her four children and her many patients. It’s a real pleasure to meet you and I feel like we’re fellow travelers in a wonderful crusade to bring this good news to as many people as we can.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

I feel the same way, absolutely. I should mention also my ADHD and the Focused Mind had one other co-author Peter Johnson. And do you know who he was, Ned?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

He is my kid’s karate teacher.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh great, wonderful.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

So, it’s really the only book in the entire world that’s written by a pediatric neurologist, a psychiatrist and a karate master.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

That’s just terrific. That is really terrific.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

Where that came from is that I was watching Pete teach inattentive kids and teach kids with ADHD and he was so good at coaching them. Every time a kid got their black belt or Brown belt, he would have them write an essay and one person wrote, “What I learned in the dojo helped me in the rest of my life.” So it got me thinking about how the lessons of the athletic mindset and what Pete was trying to teach them in karate applied to help them be more focused in their regular life. And so that’s what that book is about.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

That’s wonderful.

Well, thank you again.

Dr. Sarah Cheyette:

All right. Bye bye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

That’s our show for today. If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Cheyette or purchase one of her books, which I urge you to go to sarahcheyette.com.

You can find it all there, of course, Amazon would have her books as well. Please continue to reach out to us with your questions and show ideas. We thrive on your participation. We are a community, we are a connected group. Remember, the best antidote to distraction is connection. We will be releasing another listener question and answer episode soon, so please write to us now and get your question on that show. Email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected].

Again our tremendous thanks to pediatric neurologist, Dr. Sarah Cheyette and I will close by telling you that Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the estimable and imaginative, Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is the delightful and clever Patrick Keogh.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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The Side Effects Of Our “New Normal”

The Side Effects Of Our “New Normal”

Now that the novelty of living life in a pandemic has worn off, we’re finding ourselves feeling more tired, sad and on-edge. But that’s totally normal under the circumstances. Dr. H opens up about how he’s been feeling lately and asks listeners to do the same.

We will all get through this together! Let us know how you’re holding up. Share your thoughts with us by sending an email or voice memo to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Listen to this episode!

Or if you prefer, a transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Hallowell: This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega three supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD safe third-party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell, with a mini episode of Distraction. As you know, during this pandemic, we’ve been every week giving a what we’re calling a mental health check-in, and this is number six. What I thought I’d talk about today was prompted by our producer, Sarah Guertin, who said, “We’ve been doing this long enough now that the novelty has worn off.” We’re settling into the reality of shelter-at-home and now whatever that means where you are, it means different things for different people in different places.

But for most of us, it’s a radical change from what we’re customarily doing every day. Puts us at home, most of us for most of the time, with limited access to the outside world and that is having interesting effects. I mean, I can tell you personally, I feel more tired every day than I’m accustomed to feeling. I am seeing patients, but all over Zoom or virtual. So I’m not seeing any patients face-to-face. And I do go into my office some days and I see the support staff there, we are essential and they are not infected. So I have some human contact there.

But other than my wife, I don’t mean other than, I mean she’s the center of it all, but it’s nowhere near the person-to-person contact that I used to have. And I really do believe that takes a toll. I talk all the time about vitamin C, vitamin connect, it’s real. And I think if there’s a precipitous decline in the number of living human beings that you come into contact with every day, every week, it drains you. And I think that’s why I’m more tired. I think I haven’t been getting the dose of vitamin connect that I need. I mean, I tried to get it with email and of course my Zoom sessions with my patients and time with my wife and all that.

But I just think the fatigue I’m feeling, and I think it’s because I’m not getting the people that I need in my day. And I’m talking about people at the gas station or people at whatever markets I might go to, not to mention my patients and my friends and the Tuesday afternoon when I’d play squash and go up for a beer with my friend after it. All of that, none of that’s happening.

And I think it’s tiring because of what we’re not getting. I’m not working any harder. I’m seeing roughly the same amount of patients. I’m working on my book roughly the same amount. I think it’s the withdrawal of that vitamin connect that, you can still get it online virtually, but it’s not the same. And there is something about what I call the human moment to be distinguished from the electronic moment, that is just very powerful. And I believe we’re seeing it up close and personal now, how powerful the human moment is and how much we do need each other in person face-to-face.

Now I’m not saying run out and break the protocol and break the rules. Please don’t. We don’t want to have a resurgence of the pandemic. We don’t want to have phase two be worse than phase one. I’m just saying that I think we’re paying maybe an unanticipated price when we give one another up. As much as we complain about each other, as much as we complain about traffic and crowds and crowded supermarket aisles and crowded schools, crowded school meetings, crowded churches, crowded synagogues, I think we need those crowds in some very real and visceral way that we’re discovering now.

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure it’s happening to a lot of people, where you just feel more tired because you’re not getting the invigorating effect that person-to-person contact has ,that what I call vitamin connect. And I’m telling you, it’s as important if not more important, in fact, I know what’s more important, than ascorbic acid. We don’t have a name for it, the deficiency, like we do with scurvy when you don’t get enough vitamin C, but we ought to name whatever, this is, not enough of the human moment, not enough of vitamin connect.

It’s tiring, mildly depressing. It’s not depression per se, but it’s a life without that zip, that zest that you get from the smile of the person you’re seeing across the table from you, from the energy you feel in the restaurant or the bar or the barbershop, the hair salon. I don’t know where I’m going to get my hair cut now. Or the street is empty, all of that. All of that that we get from being close to living people. And as I said, as annoying as it can be, I think we’re now seeing how vital it is in terms of our energy, wellbeing, joie de vivre, elan vital, call it whatever you want.

I think we’re really discovering how much we need each other in physical being, present with one another. We’ll get it back, don’t worry. But I think it is a time where we’re discovering the interpersonal force that we don’t have a name for, but how fortifying it is for us and how much we miss it now that we don’t have it.

Well, let me know if that resonates with you all. I’d love to hear your opinion because this is something that I’ve just been thinking about. I’d love to hear your opinion. If you identify with that, please let us know. Send us a note at [email protected]. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and meanwhile stay connected safely, as best you can, and look forward to the day when we can once again meet in person. With all best wishes, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell for Distraction.

Well, since we’re all kind of stressed out these days with the pandemic and the uncertainty that comes with it, I’d like to tell you about a new product that I’ve started taking myself. It’s manufactured by the people who make OmegaBrite Omega-3 supplements. They’ve been around for some 20 years and I take that product myself, as does my wife.

Well, their new product, OmegaBrite CBD, is really terrific. I’ve been taking it for about a month now and it does create a feeling of calm without being sedating. It’s a really good natural anxiety reducer. I recommend it to you. Try it and see for yourself. Go to omegabritewellness.com and order OmegaBrite CBD. Okay, go get it.

Distraction is a project of Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and edited by the marvelously talented Pat Keogh. And our producer is the extraordinarily talented Sarah Guertin.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe third-party tested and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

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Your ADHD Questions Answered

Your ADHD Questions Answered

Not everyone sees their ADHD as a gift, as one listener wrote in a recent email. Dr. H responds and covers a lot of other ground answering your questions about ADHD and medication, depression, anxiety, struggles with executive function skills and more. Thank you to our listeners who sent in emails for this episode!

Watch A Stressful Simulation of ADHD by Gabrian Raphael, a Landmark College student, HERE.

Dr. H loves answering your questions so please keep ’em coming! Write an email, or record a message using the voice memo app on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Check out this episode!

Or if you prefer, a transcript of this episode is below:

Dr. Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number-one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD; safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Dr. Hallowell:

Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. We’ve got one of my favorite activities lined up for today’s episode, listener email. And I do love it so much. Please, keep feeding us emails. Email to us at [email protected]. We’ll read it on the air, and I will do my best to answer it. And by the way, I don’t read these in advance, so what you get is spontaneous, off the cuff, which is the best way for me. And we’re going to do it this time, instead of me reading the question, my wonderful producer, Sarah Guertin, will read the question. I will do my best to listen to it without daydreaming. And then I will try to focus down and give you my version of an answer. All right, the wonderful Sarah is joining me now. She will be reading your emails. Let’s dive in. What’s the first question?

Sarah Guertin:

Okay. We’ve got some great emails. The first one was a lengthy one, so I’m going to abbreviate it. But the listener wrote in part, “Dear Dr. Hallowell. I take medication for major depression and anxiety. 16 years ago at aged 43, I was also diagnosed with ADD and started on Adderall. I see a therapist every other week when I hear you and others say, what a gift our ADD is, I don’t understand. I get so angry, and then so sad, and depressed. ADD has been nothing but a curse for me. It is the reason my administrators forced me out of my teaching position four and a half years ago. The harder I tried to do my job, the higher my anxiety level rose. I couldn’t think straight. I made mistakes. I couldn’t remember the questions I had planned, find the media clip I had set on the computer, or meet deadlines. It’s February, 2020 and I am still unemployed. I’ve done a lot of research and I want to start my own small business as an artist and fine art photographer. I have so much information, but I don’t know how or where to start. This is where my ADD really hurts. The lack of executive function skills. I’m sorry, I just don’t see how something that puts so many roadblocks in the way, can be a gift. Sincerely, Catherine.”

Dr. Hallowell:

Well, Catherine you’re absolutely right. This condition can be a terrible curse. And I’ve had people say to me, “Gee, if ADD is such a gift, where do I return it?” And if you can’t manage the ADD properly, it is indeed a curse. And Russell Barkley has shown that, it’s one of the most disabling of all conditions there is. And his calculations, just actuarial tables show that it can knock around 15 years off a person’s life. Hardly a gift, if it’s getting you fired from jobs, and breaking up relationships, and landing you into debt if not bankruptcy, and leading you to drug abuse, and traffic accidents, and criminal behavior, and unemployment. The list goes on and on of every bad thing. Pretty much every bad thing is higher in the world of ADHD.

So for anyone who thinks that I call it a gift, I don’t. I qualify it. I say my job is to help you unwrap your gift, turn this condition into an asset. With no guidance or intervention that can be difficult, if not impossible to do. And Catherine, you’ve found that it’s impossible. Not for one of effort. And the thing is, you can’t overpower this condition. You can’t just effort your way through it. You do need special help. And I don’t know what kind of help you got, but obviously whatever it was didn’t work.

Dr. Hallowell:

The key elements of a plan that stands the best chance of working are number one, education. And of course, I recommend my books. Delivered From Distraction is the most recent, and it has all in it that you possibly need to know. Medication, which works about 80% of the time. 20% of the time it does not work. In my own case, it does not work. My medication is caffeine, which is a good second choice. But prescription stimulant medication can be a godsend if you give it a try, and work with a doctor who knows what he or she is doing. So you can get on the various combinations or single-dose medications that are out there. We have quite a few now. So it’s not just a matter of trying one and then giving up on it. And then working with a coach. I don’t know what you’re doing with your therapist, but I think if you can afford it, add to that a coach which can be more important than a therapist. Really someone to help you organize, plan, act as your supplemental executive function. That’s the kind of team you’re looking for. And then of course, my old standby is, marry the right person, and find the right job. There’s no help that’s going to take you to where you want to get to.

So yes, I completely understand for you. This is a curse. For you the problems with executive function have been all but unovercomeable. The only hope I would say is have you gotten the right help, and have you gotten full help? It’s not just medication. It’s not just one coach or one intervention. It’s always, particularly with more difficult cases, a comprehensive plan that includes exercise, sleep, nutrition, meditation, coaching, job consideration, all of those tools in the toolbox. And then some of the new ones. We’ve talked on this podcast several times about the Zing program, and these special exercises. Now they don’t work right away. But you’re 59 years old, and it’s certainly not too late to start exercises that stimulate the cerebellum.

And if you want to learn more about that, just go to distraction.zingperformance.com. That’s another possible intervention that could unwrap the gift, as I like to say. But I truly understand. You’re feeling resentful of anyone like me who says there’s something good about this condition. It can be just a terrible thing to wrestle with, just an absolute curse. But if you follow the suggestions I’ve just made, there’s a darn good chance that you could turn it into more of a blessing than a curse.

In any case, thank you so much for writing in and please follow up. Let us know what happens as you continue to try to turn this curse into something better than that. Thank you so much, Catherine.

Sarah Guertin:

Okay. The next one, this listener wrote in part, this was another lengthy email, which we love, but we can only read part of it. Anyway, she says, “Hi, Dr. Hallowell. Just wanted to share with you this beautiful letter my daughter gave me yesterday after school. ‘To mommy. Thank you for helping me at school. It has been much easier now that I have the medication. It’s so much easier. Thank you so, so much. I had so much free time I could do this. I love you.’ With a little heart emoji. Ellie has just started grade-four this year. And wrote this on her third day on Vyvanse for ADHD. She’s finished every single piece of work since being on it and it’s neat and all right. She shot to like the top of her class. It’s completely insane. She was struggling more than I realized. I’m so glad I persisted with the whole process. The pride in her face is all I need to know I made the right decision. Thanks for all the great information and support. I have ADHD myself, so it’s rare that I feel like I’ve truly succeeded as a mom. This makes every bit of the work I’ve done to help myself and my own ADHD absolutely worth it. Kind regards, Nicole,” and she puts in parentheses currently feeling like supermom.

Dr. Hallowell:

That’s wonderful. That’s really, really wonderful And thank you so much Nicole for sending that in. So much of the publicity, what you read in the press, is about the downside of medication. And sure, that if you don’t use medication properly it can be dangerous, if not useless. But if you do use it properly then you can get the results like Ellie got and starting out fourth-grade going to the top of the class. Just imagine what a difference in how she feels about herself, about life, about school. And to get that at age, I assume she’s a nine or 10 years old, to get that so early that means you’re not getting year, after year, after year of frustration and failure. People talking about the side effects of taking medication, which you really ought to worry about are the side effects of not taking medication. Because medication properly used has no side effects other than appetite suppression without weight loss. That’s the one side effect I’ll allow. But all the other side effects can be controlled by changing the medication, or changing the dose. And if that’s not possible, you shouldn’t take the medication. You should not take the medication in the face of other side effects.

So 80% of the time that’s an achievable goal. You can get a medication regimen that produces target symptom improvement with no side effects other than appetite suppression without unwanted weight loss. And gosh, it’s a shame to see people turn away from it because of the misinformation they’ve received. If you really know the medical facts, there’s no reason not to give medication a try unless it’s against your religion. It really couldn’t be more simple. If it helps and doesn’t cause side effects, you continue it. If it doesn’t help or it does cause side effects, you discontinue it. That’s pretty simple, straightforward, applied common sense. And the reason that it really matters is, it’s by far the easiest intervention we’ve got. It makes all the other interventions, all the non-medication interventions that much simpler to implement.

And as this mom says, very beautifully and succinctly in her note, what a difference it makes for her daughter, for herself, for the family, for the school, the whole world smiles when you get a good result like this. Well, thank you Nicole. And please, you are a super mom in deed. Please, stay in touch and give us follow-up.

Dr. Hallowell:

Well, since we’re all kind of stressed out these days with the pandemic and the uncertainty that comes with it, I’d like to tell you about a new product that I’ve started taking myself. It’s manufactured by the people who make OmegaBrite, Omega-3 supplements. They’ve been around for some 20 years. And I take that product myself as does my wife. Well, their new product, OmegaBrite CBD is really terrific. I’ve been taking it for about a month now. And it does create a feeling of calm without being sedating. It’s a really good natural anxiety reducer. I recommend it to you. Try it and see for yourself. Go to Omegabritewellness.com and order OmegaBrite CBD.

Okay. Do we have another question, Sarah?

Sarah Guertin:

Yes, we do. This one says, “Hi, Dr. Hallowell. I enjoy your podcast and books, finding them very affirming and hopeful. However, I would like to hear you address the topic of children and adults of color. While ADHD is a medical condition, it has huge social and cultural implications. I’m wondering if there’s any research on specific challenges people of color face in terms of stigmatism, educational opportunities, and access to services. I’ve heard and read quite a bit about ADD/ADHD, but I’ve never heard this aspect of social justice addressed or specifically researched. Is there anyone working in this field? Thank you. Elizabeth.”

Dr. Hallowell:

Elizabeth, to tell you the truth, I don’t know. I imagine there is. I can tell you who would know for sure, Russell Barkley. And if you just Google Dr. Russell Barkley. That he’s very accessible, and would answer your question for sure. My hunch is that the same problems apply to people of color who have ADHD that apply to people of color in general; which is racism, stigmatism, things that go with the mistreatment and misunderstanding of people of color, for that matter, people of different religion, or ethnic background. ADHD itself is often a discriminating factor. I’ve spent most of my career championing ADHD as a possible asset and trying to fight the stigma that surrounds itself. So the very condition ADHD can be a source of stigma and a reduced opportunity.

So when you throw in another possible reason to be treated unfairly, with bigotry and ignorance such as being of color or of foreign origin, or of a different religion, or for that matter, a different stature, body habitus, physiognomy. Any of the ways people judge other people in a negative and unfair prejudging way. It’s hurtful, and it’s wrong, and it’s in many instances illegal. So you do even have the law on your side. But you shouldn’t have to get an attorney to get the right medical treatment. That would be a shame. I wish I could give you hard, fast statistics. But I’m pretty sure what I just speculated on is the case. And it’s up to all of us to fight stigma in all its forms, prejudice, bigotry, ignorance in all its many different forms. And certainly ADHD itself can be a reason for stigma and prejudice, just as being of a different color, a different religion, a different ethnicity, a different look, all the reasons people are excluded so unjustly and unfairly because they are often the most talented people among us. Thank you for your note, Elizabeth. Do we have another question, Sarah?

Sarah Guertin:

We do. We have a few more here. This one says, “Hello, Dr. Hallowell. I am a mom of three. And my middle child an eight-year-old boy has ADHD. This is new information for our family. And I would love to hear you speak about how to break the news to siblings about their brother having ADHD, and how that has been affecting their relationships. For years, the eldest and youngest have been forming an alliance and have excluded my middle one experiencing him as annoying, sensitive, and quote ‘disruptive.’ I am hopeful that their relationships will heal as we all come to understand ADHD better and how it has been affecting our family life. I loved your book Driven To Distraction, which saved my life as a frustrated and confused mom. Now my goal is to understand not correct. Thank you so much. Carol.”

Dr. Hallowell:

Oh, what a lovely email. And now my goal is to understand not correct. There’s a famous saying to understand all is to forgive all. And if only we could build an understanding, we could get rid of the ignorance and stigma that persists. As to how to explain it in the family. I would just sit down with everyone and block out enough time –I.E –.more than 10 minutes to explain what this is. And the analogy I use really does work well, especially for boys. Having ADHD is like having a Ferrari engine for a brain. You have a very powerful brain. But you have bicycle brakes. So you have trouble controlling the power of your brain. So you can bump into things, overturn things, misspeak, forget. But at the same time when you’re on track, you can win races. So my job as someone who helps people with this condition is to strengthen brakes.

And you can explain to your son’s sibs that they can help. And they may not want to help. They may think it’s a lame excuse. But you can tell them it is not an excuse any more than nearsightedness is an excuse for not being able to see. One of the brothers wouldn’t say, ‘Well, squint harder instead of getting eyeglasses.” Well the same with ADHD. Keep the simple, make sure they understand it’s not an excuse, but that it is a powerful explanation. Ferrari engine with bicycle brakes, race car brain with bicycle brakes. Anyone can understand that. And it happens to be very accurate. And then what you want to do is build up that understanding. So it takes repetition. Talk about it at family dinner, talk about it when your eight-year-old flubs up. Instead of saying you’re a jerk, say “No, his brakes failed him. That’s part of how he’s put together.” And we all need understanding in terms of how we’re put together. Thank you, Carol. Thank you so much for your question because it affects an awful lot of families.

Dr. Hallowell:

On the phone with me now is Gabrian Raphael, a student at Landmark College, our wonderful sponsor in beautiful Putney, Vermont. Hello Gabriel, and thank you so much for joining us.

Gabrian Raphael:

Hi Ned. How are you?

Dr. Hallowell:

I’m doing well, thanks. I want to hear you tell our listeners about your experience at Landmark.

Gabrian Raphael:

Well, before I came to Landmark, I really wished I was more normal. I didn’t have a good image of my learning difference. Coming to Landmark has done a lot to make me feel more normal, to feel intimate in detail, and on what my disability is, and how it works and how I work. And just being in this atmosphere has really helped me form a new sense of identity and just being comfortable with who I am.

Dr. Hallowell:

Wonderful. So they’ve showed you that you have talents and strengths.

Gabrian Raphael:

Yeah.

Dr. Hallowell:

That’s wonderful. And they’ve helped you tap into them.

Gabrian Raphael:

Yeah.

Dr. Hallowell:

I know firsthand how talented you are. Because I just watched a video you made about what it’s like to have ADD And it’s brilliant. It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s at the same time entertaining and chilling because you show how completely misunderstood people with ADD can be. As you’re trying to pay attention, you’re just being bombarded with stimuli and you show this in the video beautifully.

Gabrian Raphael:

Thank you.

Dr. Hallowell:

If people want to watch it, where do they go to see it?

Gabrian Raphael:

YouTube. Type in A Stressful Simulation of ADHD. My channel is my name, Gabrian Raphael.

Dr. Hallowell:

Great. Okay, so on YouTube, Gabrian Raphael. And then the title of the video is-

Gabrian Raphael:

A Stressful Simulation of ADHD.

Dr. Hallowell:

Well, it’s brilliant. And so Landmark welcomed you and showed you far from being impaired and damaged goods, that you are quite the opposite. You have super talents, and they helped you unlock them. Correct?

Gabrian Raphael:

Well, I don’t know about super talent, but yeah.

Dr. Hallowell:

Well, you see. Now you’re like most people with ADD. You’re chuckling because you’re modest, and you’re not used to hearing terms like that. But I just watched that video, and I can tell you have super talents. You just plain do. And what you got to do is learn how to metabolize that, and not think that I’m speaking Chinese. Because you do. But the talents will emerge all the more easily the less you fight it and say, “I don’t have any talent.”

Gabrian Raphael:

Okay, I’ll try that.

Dr. Hallowell:

Call me every morning and I’ll say, “Gabrian, you’re a really talented guy with super talent.” If we do that for about 45 days, you’ll start believing it.

Gabrian Raphael:

Okay.

Dr. Hallowell:

I honestly mean it. But Landmark really has opened up a whole new world for you. Is that fair to say?

Gabrian Raphael:

Yeah, it really has.

Dr. Hallowell:

And you feel more confident?

Gabrian Raphael:

Definitely. Helped me form routines and habits that just helped me grow. Like they have free exercises classes, and I go to those every week. And that’s helped me go beyond and just exercise on my own. Like just I’ve formed the habits and routines that helped me.

Dr. Hallowell:

And that’s so important for us to have ADD. I have it as well myself as you know. We really need structure in order to unwrap our gifts. Well, thank you. Thank you so much for joining me for this brief interlude. As I said, you’re a super talented guy. And Landmark College is showing you how. You listeners, if you’d like to learn more about the college of choice for students who learn differently, go to Lcdistraction.org. Now let’s get back to today’s topic.

Okay. Sarah, do we have another?

Sarah Guertin:

Yes. “Hi, Dr. Hallowell. I currently work as a learning specialist in an elementary school. I’ve recently been hearing about DNA testing to help determine the correct ADHD medication for an individual. What is your opinion on this process? Will it help eliminate the trial and error I often see my parents and students suffer through? Thank you for your response. I’ve been reading your books and following your work for over 20 years. I love listening to your podcast, and recommend it regularly to friends and parents. Warmest regards. Paula.”

Dr. Hallowell:

Thank you so much Paula. This question comes up all the time. And I have consulted, and I do regularly consult with the best experts I know, the people over at Mass General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Russ Barkley, other leading authorities. And the word I get consistently is these tests are not there yet. They’re very seductive. Wouldn’t it be nice to just pay a fee? And it’s usually between 500 and $1000 to find out what medication will work best. Unfortunately it doesn’t usually work. You pay the money and you will get some results. So it’s not going to do any harm. But those results are usually no better than you’d get by using trial and error, which is free.

Now you don’t have to suffer through trial and error. Because these meds are in and out of your system pretty quickly. So you can try four or five medications over the span of a couple of weeks, if you’re working with a doctor who can turn things around quickly. So you don’t want to make the trial and error a period of suffering. You get lucky sometimes and the first medicine you try works. And in my experience, that happens about 50% of the time. But that leaves the other 50% of the time when you go to a trial and error. And remember there are those cases where no medication is going to work.

It is true that medication is the quickest, producing the most immediate results. But over the long haul you certainly want to have a robust non-medication plan that does include education, exercise, sometimes specialized exercise, nutrition, sleep, coaching, the toolbox, the Zing program that I’ve mentioned before. All of those are possible adjuncts. So if meds don’t work, don’t despair. If you want to spend the money on this test, and if it increases your level of confidence, then go ahead. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m just saying the people I know and trust in terms of their expert knowledge on these tests say it’s not worth it. The testing is not there yet. It may come, but we’re not there yet.

On the other hand, if you want to try it, it’s not going to do any harm. And it will give you certain medications to try first. And you may be guided by that and discover right off the bat the best medication. I’m certainly not saying don’t do it. But in terms of a cost-benefit analysis, the cost does seem to exceed the benefit. You can get the same benefit, namely finding the right medication, by trial and error.

Okay. Paula, thank you for writing in with your question. And Sarah, do we have another one?

Sarah Guertin:

Yes. This one comes all the way from Sweden.

Dr. Hallowell:

Wow.

Sarah Guertin:

Yeah, right? This says, “Dear Dr. Hallowell, I’m currently undergoing an ADHD evaluation which is, at nearly 45 years of age, a complete and utter blessing to begin to understand why my life has been the way it has imbues me with a great sense of freedom, hope, and a dawning sense of self acceptance, and ability to care for myself. The emphasis on dawning here, LOL. So I’m wondering about meditation. Is it even possible to move towards a mindful state with an ADHD brain? I find it extremely hard to be still physically with myself, you see. Not to mention my beloved racing creative brain, which is also prone to judging, focusing on achieving for others, and finding it very hard to accept all sorts of things. So I’m wondering if you know of any meditations which are specifically for people with ADHD? Any meditations in motion? I’m at my calmest when I’m moving. Or is the answer just sit with it as it were. Many thanks. YJ from Sweden.”

Dr. Hallowell:

Well, YJ? Thank you for writing in all the way from Sweden. Please tell your friends about this podcast, and tell them I’d welcome other questions from Sweden. Meditation. Yes. It’s wonderful if you’ll do it. Now, I did something called Kundalini yoga some years ago, and I found it very helpful. Kundalini yoga is what you just said, you’re in motion. You’re walking, you’re punching the air. It’s movement. And yet it is a kind of meditation. So go and read about Kundalini yoga. That is a kind of meditation that does involve moving, and moving very vigorously in fact. But at the same time, don’t give up on the sit-still-and-don’t-focus-on-anything kind of meditation. The sit still and empty your mind and imagine your mind is a river flowing by and you just watch it without interrupting and evaluating it. You know it’s not our normal state. But that doesn’t mean it’s not something we can try to do. And it is the trying to do it that confers the benefit.

You may not achieve the state of a experienced meditator or a Buddhist, but you can experience the benefit of stopping, slowing down, suspending judgment, and letting your mind flow past you as a river would flow, and perhaps focusing on the leaf, and just watching that leaf drift by and not allowing the thoughts that pester us to take you away from that leaf. And if your mind does leave the leaf, come back to it. Don’t beat yourself up for being bad at meditating. It’s a wonderful tool to use. There are apps now for meditating. You can sample those and see which work best for you. And then of course, keep in mind the possibility of Kundalini yoga. I pray in the shower. I happen to be an Episcopalian, and I have a strong sort of affinity for prayer. And so that’s my form of meditation now. I don’t do the Kundalini yoga anymore. Thank you very much for reaching out to us all the way from Sweden.

Dr. Hallowell:

And I think we have another, is that correct?

Sarah Guertin:

We do. One more. It says, “I am an adult with ADHD. I feel like I can never get on top of keeping my home clean and orderly. Do you have any suggestions? What works for you? Tina.”

Dr. Hallowell:

Well, Tina. This is a common issue. And my reply is to try to change your expectations. What you want to do is not aspire to be Martha Stewart. You don’t want to aspire to have House Beautiful. You don’t want to aspire to perfection. What you want to do is get well enough organized that disorganization does not prevent you from reaching your goals. That’s it. And if you can’t do that, then hire a coach. There are any number of coaches who will come into your home and just give you some tips on how to straighten things out and keep them that way. Again, the goal is not to be a perfect office, not to be completely spiffy and spit polished and that kind of thing. But rather to be well enough organized so the disorganization does not keep you from reaching your goals. That, for almost all of us, is an achievable end. Thank you, Tina. Thank you for writing in. That’s a really eternal question in the world of ADHD. And I think the answer I gave you is the best one that I’ve come up with over my many years.

Well, that’s all the time we have for today. We went through quite a few questions. I love going through questions. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for sending those questions in. And please, if you have a question or comment for me or for anyone else on our team, record a voice memo on your phone, or write an email and send it to us at [email protected]. We will try to answer as many as we can. And as you saw today, it’s a wonderful way of staying in touch with the show and us staying in touch with you.

Well, that’s it. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so, so much for listening. Distraction is a production of the marvelous Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the oh so marvelous and fantastic Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the princely and brilliant Pat Keogh.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number-one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD; safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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Ned’s Tale of Impulsivity and an Ozone Generator

Ned’s Tale of Impulsivity and an Ozone Generator

ADHD and impulsivity often go hand in hand, and our host is no exception. This week Dr. H shares a humorous story about a recent purchase he made without thinking it through. But as Ned says in this mini, you have to be able to laugh at yourself!

We’d love to hear from you (especially if you know anything about ozone generators)! Write an email, or record a message using the voice memo app on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below:

Dr. Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe third-party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabrightwellness.com. And by Landmark College offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark college, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini-episode of Distraction. So, I’m going to tell you about something that I did, that probably was foolish, although I’d love your input if you know better. I was on the telephone with a very intelligent man who was telling me how he was coping with the pandemic and he proudly announced, now this is a very smart guy, so I listened to him carefully and he proudly announced to me that he had bought an ozone generator.

Well, I said, “What’s that?” He said, “Well, it’s a machine that generates ozone.” I said, “I could have guessed that from your telling me that it’s an ozone generator, but why might you want to generate ozone?” And he said, “Well, the fact is, ozone is a gas that’s up in the stratosphere that protects us from the rays of the sun. You’ve heard about the ozone layer and how we were depleting it with aerosols and whatnot. Well, turns out that ozone is an anti-viral anti-mold, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial gas, and if you generate ozone in your home it will go around and kill whatever virus, mold, bacteria, fungus might happen to be there. Now, it can be irritating to your lungs., So you have to leave the house for a number of hours while you turn on your ozone generator and let the ozone do its lethal work, killing these nasty, nasty microbes that are haunting us these days.”

Well, I thought that was just the greatest thing in the world. And having ADD, I thought no more, I went to Amazon straight away and I found that all the affordable versions of ozone generators were sold out. But that was kind of consoling to me because it made me think, well there must be something to this then. So, I opted for a higher-end version. I didn’t get the professional model that was over a thousand dollars, but I got the upgraded of the smaller one. Well, I was very happy with myself and I said, “I am so ahead of the curve.” I’m, oh God, you can’t mention the curve without that coming to mind, but I’m so ahead of the pack, aren’t I just in the vanguard, aren’t I just doing something so smart? I’m going to get my ozone generator and I’m just going to blitz these nasty little bugs in my home.

But then my wife said, “You did what?” And then she said, “Did you look into it at all? Did you investigate it at all other than taking the word of this friend?” And I said, “Well no, that was enough for me.” And she said, “Well, why don’t you go online?” And so, I did. And it turns out there are many reasons not to buy an ozone generator. And it turns out I was not so smart to just jump right on, and plunk down my money, and get my ozone generator. We will see, I would ask you all if you have any information about this, I would love to hear from you. Please reach out to us. Please give me feedback on the ozone generator, [email protected] And if you want to send me some consoling messages like, “Don’t feel too bad, you’re impulsive, I’ve made stupid purchases myself.” I’d love to hear those as well.

Any thoughts, humorous or otherwise that this little escapade of mine brings to your mind? I’d love to hear from you, [email protected]. I will report at a later date when the ozone generator arrives, what I did with it, whether we do set it off in the kitchen and let ozone loose, or whether I think that’s too dangerous. As I do a little bit more research and maybe hear from you all in terms of the future destination of my very own ozone generator. In these stressful times it is good to be able to laugh, particularly at yourself, I think, and so there you are with me laughing at myself but I’d like to take a quick moment to thank our wonderful sponsor OmegaBrite CBD. I take it every day, I truly do, ever since they came up with the product and I do highly recommend it. It’s calming without being sedating. There is a definite calming, in the good sense of that word, because I’m sort of reactive and impatient by nature with my ADD. This really does help.

OmegaBrite CBD is safe, third-party tested and I’m here to tell you, at least for me, it works. It was formulated by Dr. Carol Locke, who is my friend and colleague of Harvard Medical School and her company OmegaBrite Wellness, who have also created the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years, which my wife and I also take and have done for many years. Get OmegaBrite CBD on the web at omegabrightwellness.com.

Okay. Remember to reach out to us with your comments and questions, record a voice memo on your phone or write an email and send it [email protected]. And I’d be particularly interested in your thoughts about my recent purchase of an ozone generator. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the top flight, really wonderful man, Pat Keogh, and our producer is the delightful, brilliant, and beautiful Sarah Guertin.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Omega Brite CBD, safe, third-party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabrightwellness.com.

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Managing Relationship Stress During the Pandemic

Managing Relationship Stress During the Pandemic

Living in quarantine with your significant other isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Some days or moments can be really tough. Our host’s wife, Sue Hallowell, LICSW, joins Ned for a conversation about the ups and downs of married life when neither partner can leave the house. They share some real examples of the struggles they’ve encountered over the past few weeks, and offer ideas on how to manage parenting, jobs, and relationships when you’re stressed to the max.

Reach out to us! Write an email, or record a message using the voice memo app on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below:

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

You have a couple who are already struggling with day-to-day life with each other and all of a sudden they’re both trying to work from home, if they’re lucky enough to have jobs. If they have children, their children are all at home, supposedly doing their homework or we’re learning whatever they’re supposed to be learning, and you’re all trying to manage that and there’s absolutely no way to get away from each other. And so it can be a really challenging time for couples to figure out how to manage all that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Every time I have a guest on, I always say this is a very special guest and in fact all our guests are very special, so I’m not exaggerating. But I think today’s guest does qualify as the most special guest. It’s a repeat appearance, but each time this guest comes on this guest does qualify as the most special guest we ever have on this podcast. Now who do you suppose that is?

Well, of course it’s none other than my own very special and only wife by the name of Sue Hallowell. In case you don’t know, Sue is a licensed independent clinical social worker, otherwise known as LICSW, and truly the most skilled therapist that I know. Nobody does it better than Sue when it comes to psychotherapy. She also manages this family and believe me, even though our kids have grown up and moved out, they still need managing, she manages me, which believe me, even though I’m grown up and not moved out, still need managing, and she manages the office that we have in New York City and helps out with the office in Sudbury and tonight she’s going to make a special dinner of tamales, which she already gave me the recipe for this-

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Enchiladas.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Enchiladas. Oh, Tamales, Enchiladas, Tacos, all the same thing. But I’m not skilled enough to know. Anyway, she and I are at home in our house in Arlington doing the quarantine thing that one is supposed to do. But I persuaded her, at the very last minute, she had no idea she was going to do this, to come on the podcast because we get feedback whenever she comes on that she is indeed the best guest that we could ever have. So, with no further ado or introduction or babbling on my part, let me introduce my wonderful wife of 31 years, mother of our three children, Sue George Hallowell.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Hi, honey.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hi, Sue. You’re down in the kitchen and I’m up on the third floor. So Sue, we agreed that we would talk about how it is to live together as a couple where one person has ADD, namely me, and the country has a pandemic of the coronavirus. Is that what we agreed to talk about?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, or when one or both people have ADHD or couples in general. What it’s like to be together when you’re struggling already, or maybe even not struggling, and living together in this crazy time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes. And just so our listeners know, Sue actually does a private practice and specializes in couples therapy where one or both partners have ADD.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, also I see other couples as well.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes, yes, you have a veterinary practice on the side, right?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

No, but I do see people who don’t have ADHD, I’d just like to be clear.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes, yes. You’re a full service general practice LICSW.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And you see me every day.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

I see you every day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So you see individual patients as well. Somehow you keep me kicking along. So how would you like to jump in? What do you think is the greatest stress on couples now on top of the ADD with the pandemic that we’re living with?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, I think that all of the challenging traits that we have are exacerbated when you’re living under stressful circumstances and when you can’t get away from each other, both of which are true during this pandemic. So, you have a couple who are already struggling with day to day life with each other and all of a sudden they’re both trying to work from home, if they’re lucky enough to have jobs. If they have children, their children are all at home, supposedly doing their homework or learning whatever they’re supposed to be learning. And you’re all trying to manage that and there’s absolutely no way to get away from each other and so it can be a really challenging time for couples to figure out how to manage all that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wouldn’t you say a first suggestion would be to reduce your expectations? It’s only normal to feel irritated and irritable and short tempered and try to cut each other some slack?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

I think that is clearly the number one answer. Everybody is feeling stressed and cutting expectations is really important and being kind to each other. But I think that one of the key things is that we have to reduce our personal expectations. I think that a lot of people are feeling like they have to be functioning at the same level that they always function.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

I think that when you have those expectations for yourself, then you are going to have those same expectations for your partner. And when that happens, tension is going to ensue. So, one of the things that we always talk about, Ned, I know one of the things that you always talked about, is good enough. And I think that during this time that has to really be the key statement.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Everything has to be good enough. We can’t expect ourselves to be able to be perfect parents, perfect workers, and perfect partners at this time. Wonder if we gave ourselves permission to say, “Maybe I’m not going to be giving 100% at work.” Or, “Maybe I’m not going to be that 100% perfect parent who has their child’s day perfectly mapped out with enriching activities and no screen time.” I think that we have to give each other a break.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay. Hang onto that thought.

I’d like to take a moment to talk to you about a new product created by one of our sponsors, OmegaBrite, and it is their OmegaBrite CBD. I started taking it myself about a month ago and it really does make a difference in terms of creating a general feeling of calm. And it is in fact organically grown. The product was derived by careful research done by Dr. Carol Locke, who’s a Harvard Medical School graduate and faculty member.

And I know because I’ve known her for a long time, she has a true and honest commitment to excellence. Now the background of the CBD, OmegaBrite had been making the Omega-3 fatty acid product for 20 years and they had, I think, the best product in the business. And now they’re getting into CBD, which as Carol said, it’s like the West out there.

So, she wanted to do it carefully and deliberately, which she did. And they have set the standards for purity, as I said, organically grown, free of pesticides, safety, rigorous testing standards and inherence, and that’s Carol’s absolute trademark. And most important, I suppose, efficacy. Does it help? Yes, it does. I’m here to tell you, it helps. So go to OmegaBriteWellness.com and look for OmegaBrite CBD. You’ll be glad you did.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, you’ve been very good at giving me a break over the weekend. I was saying, “I have to work on this book cause I got to get this book done.” And you were saying, “No, you really should take a rest. You can’t push yourself too hard these days.”

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

That’s right. That’s right. You’ve been seeing a lot of patients. You’ve been seeing so many people and working so hard and I think that when you put that kind of stress on yourself, you start to take it out on other people. I think also it’s really important for people to really acknowledge the importance of each other’s work and each other’s time, right?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

You really try to work out a schedule for each other that is realistic for both of you. Understanding that these children need to be taken care of, but if you’re both working, it can’t fall on one or the other. It’s going to require some kind of schedule or managing it that’ll work for both of you. Trying to take some downtime and just have fun.

I have a client who basically has been under so much stress, she has been working and then basically just wanting to go to bed because she’s so exhausted and then she lies in bed fretting and anxious and can’t sleep. I said, “Look, watch a mindless TV show. Have a glass of wine and chat with your college age adult children.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Why don’t you tell the listeners the ritual that you and I have developed after dinner?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, we go into our living room where I’m trying to maintain six feet away from Ned at all times since I was in New York City and I’m quarantining myself. And we watch a movie every night. We alternate because in good couples practice, he likes action, adventure, and I like comedies, particularly romantic comedy, mindless things. And we’re alternating. It’s something that in our day to day life, I’m working late or he’s working late or we’re both so busy, that we often get into bed at 10:00 or 11:00 o’clock and I fall asleep immediately. But now we’re trying to set aside our evening to sit down and watch a show together, which gets our minds off of the day and all the challenges. It lets us and have fun and we’re spending some really nice time together.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

As well as arguing about the choice of movies.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, that’s why we’re alternating.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I liked a couple of the rom coms we watched.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

There you go.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

You definitely did not like one of the action adventure we watched.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

No, but I’ve liked some of them and that’s awesome.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, and you did hang in there. You dozed off but you, you hung in there. But it’s nice just being with you and I think you don’t have to be necessarily in conversation just to be with your partner, what have you. Just the connection is good to enjoy.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

I think that’s exactly right. I think that’s exactly right. And getting outside. If there’s a place around you, can walk without many people, just to get some fresh air is so important. Another issue that I find that’s coming up with couples who are in the house all the time together, particularly around parenting, but other things as well, is that if they have different ways of doing things and they’re trying to share responsibilities, it’s hard not to interfere with what the other person is doing.

I had a couple the other day and when the dad is on, when he’s doing the parenting, the mom is up supposedly working, but they have different ideas about what’s important. She’s very into the child has to be on a schedule and the child has to eat vegetables and the child has to exercise and the dad thinks all that’s important too, but the kid is pretty difficult and he thinks maintaining a relationship with the kid is more important and he has to pick his battles about what he’s fighting with.

And how do you let parents, even though they’re in the same house and closer than they are at other times when you don’t see with the other parent is doing, really understand that you have to divide up those duties? And when one is on the other has to let the other one do it, whether it’s the way you would do it or not.

Giving them the autonomy even if you have to hide upstairs. There was another couple who I was talking about where the worry is, is that the mom would never be able to work because as soon as the children see her, they want mom. And these are littler kids so you’re able to do this. And there was a lot of tension developing between the couple because the mom was like, “Why can’t you just keep the kids away? I need to work too.” And the dad said, “Once they see you they don’t want to be with me and that’s a problem.”

And so the solution they came up with was the mom gets up really early before the kids, goes and hides up in her office, and doesn’t come back until 2:00 o’clock that they really feel like that she’s not there in a very different kind of way. So, it’s how can you be resilient? How can you think outside the box during this time to be able to get each other through and be supportive of each other?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

You can take care of things that maybe you’ve been putting off. Just before we came on the podcast, you and I did something that we’d been meaning to do for 20 years, namely update our wills. So, we got this attorney on the line. Last time we spoke to him was 1999 and we were sort of sheepish about it. But we slogged away at updating the will. I do think it was sort of ironic that during a pandemic we’re updating our will, but let’s hope that’s not anticipating any terrible event. But the point being you can take care of things that maybe you’ve been putting off taking care of.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, I also think that it’s about what are your priorities, right? And thinking through what our priorities are and what’s important in life. I was in a peer supervision that I do and we were talking about what are the silver linings? When we slow down, if we give ourselves permission to slow down and not rush, maybe there are points of connection that we can make that we’re too busy to do and enjoy both ourselves and our children in a way that we normally aren’t.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Getting things done we haven’t, you and I were talking about how we watch TV. I will say one of the most interesting things to me is I have seen in our neighborhood more families out walking or biking together than I think I’ve seen in my entire life.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

People of all ages.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

People of all ages. And I think that that’s a positive thing and really understanding, I have had some people say, “You know, we could die. People could get sick and do I really hate you as much as I think? Are you really as annoying as I think you are? What are the things that did bring us together?” And I do think that the slowing down may give us an opportunity to be able to do that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

All right, we’re going to pause right here for just a moment.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Joining me now is Scout MacEachron, a former student at Landmark College, our wonderful sponsor in beautiful, beautiful, bucolic Putney, Vermont. So Scout, thank you for joining us for a couple of minutes. And could you please just tell us about your experience at Landmark College and why it worked for you?

Scout MacEachron:

Sure. Happy to be here. So, I attended Landmark from 2011 to 2012, I graduated with my associates degree and I ended up at Landmark after failing, for lack of a better word, out of traditional college. I’m diagnosed with ADHD and mild dyslexia and a few other learning disabilities. And yeah, regular college wasn’t working so well for me. So, I ended up at landmark where it was just unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. I was suddenly surrounded by a bunch of other kids who thought differently, like I did, and a bunch of teachers and staff who were really well equipped to be supportive in a way that I would think most traditional college professors and what have you might not be.

So, it really helps me, boosted my confidence I think would have been one of the primary, biggest things that I left Landmark with. Also just all those basic skills that might come easily to some but not all of us, like writing a college essay or managing your time outside of class. Really all of that, I found support for there and was taught how to do in a gentle but firm way and I graduated with straight A’s and went on to finish my BA and I’m at a different school in New York and yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wow. What are you doing now?

Scout MacEachron:

So, I’m a journalist. I’m a video producer for a company called Now This News.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh, cool. Based in New York City?

Scout MacEachron:

It is, yeah. Although I’m based in LA. We make news videos for social media.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh my gosh, that’s wonderful. So, Landmark really turned it around for you.

Scout MacEachron:

It really did. I went in there hating college. I’d spent some time working as a waitress and I thought I wanted to be a photographer and I really just didn’t think college was for me. But after Landmark, I just left with this whole new found sense of confidence and I actually enjoyed the things that I was learning again. And I remember reading a book for school for the first time and actually enjoying it and finishing it and not just telling my teacher I finished it. It was a great place for me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

That’s a wonderful. I’m a huge fan. In fact, I have an honorary degree from Landmark College.

Scout MacEachron:

Oh wow, that’s neat.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I’m a big fan of it. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story and I know firsthand that there are many, many, many more stories like yours, but there’s nothing like hearing it from the actual person.

Scout MacEachron:

Absolutely. Well, thank you for having me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

If you’d like to learn more about the college of choice for students who learn differently, namely Landmark College in beautiful Putney, Vermont, go to lcdistraction.org. That’s Landmark College, to learn so much more, and our thanks to Scout MacEachron for so eloquently representing what Landmark College can do for you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So, do you hate me as much as you think you do?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Oh, stop.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

But I am as annoying as you think I am, I’m aware of that.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

You can be be annoying, and I’m sure I can be annoying too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No, you’re never annoying. One of the things whenever Sue and I do these podcasts together, she always wants to be sure that we don’t make it sound as if we’re the perfect couple, that we acknowledge that we do argue and can annoy one another and I think that’s true.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, we do and I think that’s important because, again, I think the message has to be is we all have these challenges and it’s how do we manage them and how do we try to get through them in the best way we can.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I will say, one of the advantages of having ADD is a tendency to focus and get organized in times of crisis. So, I have found myself a little bit more energized during this period, a little bit more focused than I normally am. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

You definitely have. And that really has been interesting that you’ve been able to do that. And I think you’re right, it might be the high stimulation of it being a bit more of a crisis, because I do think that for some people with ADD, one of the challenges has been the lack of structure of being home.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

And I think that particularly if people … if your job is increased because of this. If you’re extremely busy, like you Ned, you’re seeing lots of patients who are very anxious and upset or I have a client who works in communications around the virus, so then I think that this sort of high stim pushing it is easy. But for some people their job, don’t have a job, or their job is much less busy because they’re working from home.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

And I think that that can be a challenge to figure out how to develop routines or how to develop structure if you’re not good at doing that by nature. And that, again, can cause stress between couples if one person is very structured and wants you to be more structured or if one is working very hard at their job and needs a lot more structure and you’re struggling with that lack of structure. That’s a real challenge for people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

How do you advise people to work that out?

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Well, I think it’s really hard because if it’s someone without ADHD you say, “Well, develop a routine, develop a structure for yourself.” But we know that that’s not always easy for people with ADHD because they don’t have those internal structures and they really rely on external structures and they bristle when someone tries to set up a structure, I.E. their partner tries to set up some structure for them.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

So, this is really tough and what I really try to do with people is to help them come to grips with what they struggle with themselves. So, if I can get a person with ADHD who struggles with setting up a structure for themselves or having that internal way of setting it up, if instead of them getting angry and defensive about it or feeling criticized, if I can really help them understand that this isn’t a bad thing about them, it’s just a fact.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

And what kind of strategies or how can they rely on the help from others to be able to set up some kind of structures so that everybody feels better? Because I find that if you can help people take responsibility for what they do well and don’t do so well without making it such a big deal.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Or that without shame.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Without shame or externalization, without blaming other people for trying to make them be something they’re not, or internal shame, then it’s easier to come up with some easy structure. It has to be a structure that can work for them. Not a structure that other people think is a way that they should be structured. And they have to also understand the impact on their partner, right.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

If instead of it just being a fight between the two of them, if they get to a conversation where, “Look, I know you’re not someone who easily structures yourself, but we’ve got these kids we’re having to develop some routine for. I’m trying to get my work done and it’s really hard if I don’t have your help in some sort of framework, and I then get more stressed and upset.” If it can be a conversation around impact and around what we struggle with, then you can get somewhere.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And you mentioned earlier, make time for fun, make time for fun. You don’t think of this as being anything fun about it, but at the same time there’s no command that you have to be absolutely shut down, misery.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

In fact, it’s not good for you. To be shut absolutely shut down, misery. I know this sounds trendy and it’s what everybody says, but the more that you can find some ways to be grateful or my groups said today silver linings, the more that you can enjoy little moments, the better you’re going to be. Because if we get, like my client who was not allowing herself any fun, was just so pulled down by it, that doesn’t do well for anybody. It hurts her partner, it hurts her kids, and mostly it hurts herself.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

We have to try to push against that. And if it means that you let your children watch more TV than you normally would or play more video games so you and your partner can sit down and have a cup of tea or a glass of wine or just a few minutes to catch yourself, so be it. People are going to survive. But relationships can be damaged if you don’t take the time to try and nurture them, even in this time when it feels like there’s so much going on.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, I’m very, very grateful to have you in my life and our three children and I.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

And me to you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I’ve been feeling that way every day. We’ve been together an awful lot and our nightly movies are a lot of fun, even though we don’t always agree on the choice of the movies. But I think you’re right, a time to feel gratitude in the midst of feeling oppressed and deprived and denied. I love the silver linings that you pointed out, and that’s not to be Pollyanna. We acknowledge that it’s that it’s terrible. Absolutely terrible. People are dying and losing their jobs and their businesses and their livelihoods. It’s terrible. But at the same time, it’s not uniformly relentlessly terrible. And to find the, as you said, the silver linings. And Sue, you are a huge silver lining in my life and thank you so much.

Sue Hallowell, LICSW:

Thank you, honey. I always love to come on.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay. Remember to reach out to us with your comments. A lot of you have commented on these COVID-19 check-ins and we love hearing from you. We had a bunch of emails. So please send us an email. Send it to [email protected]. Share your stories and thoughts. Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to us.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is my dear friend and wonderful colleague, Pat Keogh, and our producer is the delightful, effervescent, and always brilliant and imaginative, Sarah Guertin.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD. Safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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Tips for Learning from Home with How to ADHD and Landmark College

Tips for Learning from Home with How to ADHD and Landmark College

Jessica McCabe shares a ton of practical tips for making a successful transition to learning or working from home in this special episode brought to you by Landmark College in Putney, VT, the college of choice for students who learn differently. Jessica’s acronym, STACC, will give you the framework you need to get your work done at home, whether it’s for school or a job!

Check out all of Jessica’s amazing ADHD content on her website at HowtoADHD.

How are you making the transition? Share your thoughts with us by writing an email, or recording a message using the voice memo app on your phone and sending it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Do you know a student with ADHD or other learning difference looking for a higher education experience? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Check out this episode!

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Riding the Wave of Emotional Overdrive

Riding the Wave of Emotional Overdrive

Dr. Hallowell checks in to see how our listeners are holding up during the quarantine. He shares some simple advice about acknowledging your feelings of anger, annoyance, frustration and other negative emotions, as an important part of your mental well-being. Dr. H tweaks his adage, “Never worry alone” to “Never complain alone” as we muddle through this difficult time.

Reach out to us! Write an email, or record a message using the voice memo app on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Episode image by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If you’d prefer to read the episode, a transcript is below:

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at LCDistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell, with a mini episode of Distraction. As we soldier on through the Coronavirus pandemic that has settled in upon the nation in a sort of viral fog, we get many, many messages reassuring us that things will work out. And urging us to be positive in our approach and to buck each other up. Those messages have certainly been coming from me, as well as almost everyone else who offers messages.

But I wanted to just sound a little bit of a permission, if you will, to complain. You don’t have to go around pretending that everything’s fine, everything’s going to work out, things are terrible. Businesses are failing, right and left. People are going out of business, people are losing their livelihoods, not to mention their lives. Short of the loss of life, which is of course tragic, much more common is the loss of business and economic hardship. I just think you got to be able to complain about that, acknowledge it before you get on to the positive thinking and all that.

There’s nothing negative about acknowledging a problem. In fact, there’s something very good about acknowledging a problem. It’s also good for the soul and the nervous system, in general, to let off steam, to say, “God dang, this is awful. I don’t like this.” And complain, get mad at God, get mad at whoever you get mad at.

Say, “Why? What did we do to deserve this?” Of course, the answer is “Nothing.” This is not a punishment, this is a phenomenon of viral behavior that maybe could have been prevented, but whatever. We are in the midst of it and it’s pretty darn yucky. It’s pretty darn awful. I just want to reassure you that it’s okay to say that. Feel it, say it, complain together. One of my motto’s is “Never worry alone.” Well, never complain alone. Find other people, complain together. Raise a protest against nature, against viruses. Then, of course, get on with the business of helping each other out and trying to move in a positive and constructive direction.

With this mini episode, I just wanted to give you permission to do the obvious, which is to complain, be upset, acknowledge how up against it so many of us are. Then look around and try to find the solutions that will, with the passage of time, lead us out of this viral fog. Until then, I look forward to connecting with you soon. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell for Distraction.

I’d like to thank our new sponsor, actually our new old sponsor, who resigned up, OmegaBrite CBD, for supporting this podcast. I take it every day and I highly recommend it. It’s formulated by Dr. Carol Locke, of Harvard Medical School and her company OmegaBrite Wellness, who have created the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years, which I also take, as does my wife, Sue. OmegaBrite CBD is safe, third-party tested, and I am here to tell you it works. I honestly just started it about three weeks ago and it has definitely made me feel more even. Find OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Okay, remember to reach out to us with your comments, share your thoughts with us by writing an email or recording the voice memo and sending it to [email protected]. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the always impeccable and delightful, Pat Keogh. Our producer is the lovely and always full of ideas, Sarah Guertin.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Listen to this episode!

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